The centrist and moderate political organizations in the first section below are those we recommend readers support the most with monetary donations and/or volunteer time. If we are ever going to see the American political center fairly represented in government again, we need millions of centrists to start putting their literal and proverbial money where our mouths are – as the left and right do, or we will remain underrepresented.
Organizations Periodically Shuffled - Click Here for Our Criteria
As we add profiles of centrist, moderate and nonpartisan organizations doing work that is having the biggest positive impact for those of us in the American political center, we’ll be rotating some of the best where we believe your personal small dollar donations and/or volunteering time will be well-spent in and out of the top ‘featured’ section just below this expanding block.
Keep scrolling for more organizations, including those whose work we support, but their lack of funding transparency (‘dark money groups’ – The Centrist Project and No Labels being the most noteworthy examples) leads us to recommend for following and volunteering, but not for monetary donation.
When deciding on who to list, and who to feature, we’re going to look for reasons to believe that these organizations are among the best investments of your personal time and/or money. Borrowing a term from the business world, we hope to feature organizations that will deliver the most ‘ROI’ (return on investment) – the return being the goal of helping further causes that represent what centrists and moderates would like to see happen in our government or wider political landscape.
Under no circumstance should you consider any of this information (or information from anyone or anywhere else) as something akin to “centrist scripture”. Our criteria may be different than yours, and the only one with the right to determine where your time and money is best spent is you.
We merely provide this information as a resource, as we understand that it is difficult for people whose lives do not revolve around politics to sift through all of the noise, and for those looking to do their part to help centrists someday be fairly represented in government, we hope that this will lead to more people chipping in in ways most likely to have a bigger and more lasting positive effect.
The following are some of the primary criteria we use to determine who to profile and/or feature here:
Over just the last decade, dozens of organizations have come and gone, so before we feature one we’re going to look for reasons to believe that they will be around for the long term. There is nothing wrong with donating to, or volunteering for, any organizations here, but helping an organization that will still be around in twenty years continue building toward becoming a powerful representative for centrists is much more desirable than one that may shut its doors next year.
We’re also going to look at the organization’s track record, and the track records of those who are at the helm. What have they achieved in the past gives us a good idea of what they could achieve in the future, if we could help funnel more donors and volunteers their way.
We’ll also be looking at whether their actions match their stated goals and messaging. Naturally, the only organizations that will be considered for a listing here will be those that represent the views of those of us in the center, though – to be clear – that won’t be limited to specifically centrist organizations, but will also include nonpartisan organizations who are fighting for things that align with what we believe (election reform, transparency, anti-corruption, etc).
Lastly, the more forthcoming and transparent an organization is, the more we’re likely to encourage people to donate and/or volunteer. The mirror opposite is also true, which is why dark money groups (organizations that choose a form of political nonprofit that allows them to not reveal who their donors are, how much their donating and other fundraising and spending information) are listed at the very bottom of the page).
There are a range of other things that may result in an organization being added, taken off or have an effect on where they are placed here. If you have any questions, please send us a message on social media, or through our contact page.
Independence Party of Minnesota – MN State Centrist Party
The centrist third party Independence Party of Minnesota was originally formed in 1992, as a state chapter of the Reform Party, and have been representing centrist and moderate voters for over 25 years. During that time, they’ve had a member in the U.S. Senate for two years, elected a governor, have been a pioneer on instant runoff voting and like most centrists, their party is fiscally responsible, and more liberal on social issues.
Like many in the center, they support balanced budgets, and have been forward thinking in areas like GLBT rights and marijuana legalization. As we do here, the Independence Party of Minnesota is very strong on anti-corruption and election reform – supporting independent redistricting, same day voter registration and term limits and strongly condemn the Supreme Court’s misguided ‘Citizens United’ ruling. Their plans through 2020 involve recruiting competitive candidates for down-ballot races and starting to build a network of centrist parties across the country.
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget – Fighting for Fiscal Sanity
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) is an aptly-named nonpartisan fiscal policy think tank nonprofit. Since launching in 1981, the CRFB has been a leading voice for fiscal sanity as the two major parties have become increasingly irresponsible in their handling of the federal budget.
They do share some bipartisan, mostly centrist to center-right policy ideas, but most of the work they’ve published in recent years revolves around debunking dishonest budgetary policy claims by Democratic and Republican administrations and congressional leaders. Noteworthy examples over the last decade include Obama and the Democrats’ over-inflated claims of healthcare cost savings during the runup to the passage of the ACA and all of the array of false claims Republicans and the Trump administration used to support the tax plan they passed in December of 2017.
Washington Independents – New Centrist PAC in Washington State
Washington Independents is the newest centrist organization on this list, having just launched in October. Their bipartisan board is co-chaired by Chris Vance – former State Republican Party Chairman, and Brian Baird – former Democratic Congressman from Washington’s 3rd congressional district who left office in 2000.
Washington Independents is a microcosm of what is happening right now in the American political center. Its founders are a mix of former Democrats and Republicans (same as most independents have been, at one time or another) who have left their respective parties because they’re “more focused on running to the extremes to win elections than coming to the center to solve problems.” Like us, they formed to fill an unmet need for centrists – theirs to give independents “the tools they need to run competitive campaigns without traditional party support.”
Uniters.org – Big Tent Centrist Voter Network
We’re focused on giving voice to the American political center online (this website, Medium blog, social media, podcast and YouTube), by helping build a network of grassroots groups in cities across the country and leveraging what we build to help the growth of the wider centrist political sphere – which is what this page is designed for, and why we use our social accounts to share content from every centrist organization and campaign, not merely for sharing our content and self promotion.
Our local chapters will be semi-autonomous – having the freedom to focus on what they choose most of the time, as well as be a place where which centrist independent, moderate and nonpartisan organizations and campaigns with a presence in their area can may network to find and cross pollinate supporter bases they need to grow and succeed in their efforts.
In Limbo: North Carolina Centrist Coalition
An unusual case – I list them here because what little I could find out about them is generally positive, and their name obviously suggests they’d be in our wheelhouse. There isn’t much information here because they have – so far, over a few months of asking on email and a few social networks – refused to answer the same questions I asked everyone else.
Full File on the North Carolina Centrist Coalition
North Carolina Centrist Coalition Informational Links:
- They incorporated in May, 2017:
- Click here for their state incorporation paperwork. (PDF)
- Click here for their 527 incorporation paperwork. (PDF)
- You can search for incorporation and filing documents of 527 groups (ours included, once we file), at this page on the IRS website:
- Here’s an external: link to their state incorporation information.
- Social Media Links:
Working Notes – North Carolina Centrist Coalition
One article has been written about them in the media, but it is behind a paywall. I have seen it, and it’s pretty standard stuff about a new organization launching – nothing controversial.
A listing for an event they hosted seems to indicate that they’re an affiliate of the Centrist Project / Unite America (as Washington Independents are – a fantastic organization we have listed above).
At first glance, the North Carolina Centrist Coalition may have the least to worry from us of all the organizations on this page, given that their legal structure is the same as ours and they’re overtly pro-centrist… which makes the following even more perplexing.
I didn’t get a reply to the first few inquiries, and then when I did, I was given what would be aptly described as ‘the runaround’, and an easily recognizable version of it. I’ve only worked in marketing for the last four years, but I know smarmy sales tactics when I see them – and we’ve all seen this one.
You call or email information on a product, and instead of just giving it to you, the salesperson on the other end of the line repeatedly refuses to grant your request. Instead, they try to twist your arm into a sales funnel – jumping through hoops, getting you onto a sales call, come into their office in person, etc – classic, old school, ‘used car salesmen’ manipulative marketing.
This is both the polar opposite of what I recommend to clients, and is extremely counterproductive to building a relationship with a potential customer… much less a natural political ally who is literally going out of his way to try and help you.
One of the leaders of the organization appears to have a resume that would explain this behavior – coming from a field where it’s standard operating procedure, and of an age where it was more accepted than it is now, but I don’t know who is on the other end of the line. I’ve stuck to official organizational channels, but if they keep stonewalling, I’ll reach out to members.
Peculiar behavior like this (every other organization on this page was very responsive – even those I’ve publicly butted heads with at times) naturally set off alarms / raised some red flags as to what they’re really about. I’m hoping this can be explained by just someone stuck in his old sales tactic ways – and I have no conclusive evidence that points one direction or the other as of yet.
Unfortunately, this resulted in several completely unnecessary wasted hours, digging up hints of information on them on search engines, government and business databases, social networks and reaching out to political reporters in North Carolina (h/t to the North Carolina branch of Politifact – very helpful).
I found almost all of the information I need to begin working on their profile without their help. The pertinent information is mentioned above.
If you’re reading this – for goodness sake… just answer my questions:
- Who are your officers and board members?
- What are your plans for 2018 and 2020?
- Where can I find your latest donor information?
One of our core principles is the belief that all political donor information should be 100% transparent. Putting our money where our mouth is on the subject, we do not give special treatment for organizations we agree with politically. The organizations below are dark money groups (organizations not legally required to share their donor information) whose work we generally agree with, so we cannot recommend that you donate to them (as always – make up your own mind), but we do recommend volunteering for them should they be active in your area.
The Issue with, & Our Position on, Dark Money Groups
If, like most political organizations, we make exceptions for groups we align with, then we wouldn’t genuinely be on the side of political transparency. Toward that end, just below you’ll find organizations whose work we do generally agree with, but whose choice to incorporate as dark money groups (organizations not legally required to reveal donor information) makes us reticent to recommend them to members considering who to donate to. We do recommend volunteering, and you are – of course – free to not take as hard of a stand on anti-corruption as we do, and donate to them.
Toward that end, every time we mention such organizations (centrist or otherwise) on our website, we will note what they are and that they hide their donor information. This, as well as reporting on the corruptive influence of dark money in our blog and informational sections, is our organizational way of following through with another important pillar of our core principles: doing our part.
While our organization’s anti-corruption and pro-transparency stances precludes us from having any sort of monetary or formal relationship with dark money groups (again, centrist or otherwise), and we do not recommend that you donate monetarily to organizations that are not legally required to reveal their donor information, the good work they do for centrists and moderates will still be reported on in our blog, they will still be profiled in our informational sections and members are encouraged to volunteer for any actions they take that you agree with.
No Labels: Bringing Moderate Problem Solving to Washington
I heard about No Labels before it launched, flew to New York to go to it’s launch in person in December of 2010, with co-founders including centrist pundit John Avlon, moderate Republican Mark McKinnon and head of the center-left think tank ‘Third Way’, Jonathan Cowan. Since then, they’ve been the most consequential organization representing centrists and moderates in American politics.
They’ve made a lot of waves over the years, but their most impactful contribution has come just in the last year, when they launched the ‘Problem Solvers Caucus’. This is a bipartisan group of just under 40 representatives in the House (mostly moderates and mainstream liberals and conservatives who are fed up with dysfunction), who are working to push for more bipartisan effectiveness in Congress.
The Centrist Project: Helping Independent Run for Office
The Centrist Project was founded by economics professor, author and columnist Charles Wheelan, after the publishing of his book, ‘The Centrist Manifesto. They are primarily aimed at aiding independent candidates run for office. Initially focused only on candidates for high office, they made the excellent decision to begin helping candidates running for down-ballot races starting in the 2018 election cycle.
While they have recently engaged in some mixed messaging by expressing support for candidates far from centrist in the media (Ben Sasse for example – one of the most conservative Senators), those they have have officially endorsed have all had at least strong moderate streaks in what they stand for. During election season, they are a great place to look for independent campaigns to consider supporting.