Is There Any Path To Legitimizing Centrist Politics/Party?

I think one of the worst things that has happened in modern times in the extremisim and “team” politics that are dominant today. You are either far left or right and anything near the middle just makes both parties not take you seriously.

Why can’t a republican agree that just maybe climate change is a real thing and find a way to incentivize Big Oil even more? (Remember when Climate Chage started as a republican lead effort… times have changed indeed).

Why can’t a democract say that just maybe we need SOME level of improved checks and balances in our border security without a gazillion dollar dream wall? Why can’t a democrat agree that maybe letting non US citizens/those without an ID vote is a bad idea?

Why can’t a republican agree that maybe you cannot raise a family on $7.25 per hour while a democrat agrees that a national minimum wage of 17-20 per hour might actually force more corporate investment in automation and actually reduce the available work?

Why can’t democrats and republicans agree that the Richard Nixon created Sally Mae being privitized has caused a student loan epidemic of corruption, defaults and sky rocketing tuition costs where the borrower is usually a kid with very little financial experience or means to pay it back. Republicans do not want a socialist free college system but maybe they can agree the system is broke and find a middle ground (take Sally Mae back to being a federal program).

I know the answers to the why’s above… lobbyists, dollars, perks and payoffs, quid pro quo, constituents voting you out, etc. But all we have now is absolute extremism that I believe is very frustrating to millions of Americans who see EVERY bill, EVERY ideaology, EVERY Law challenged vehemently.

I know some issues are far less likely to find middle ground (abortion for example) but my point here is why does nearly every politician that can make any impact in the governance of our country have such extremist views?

Are the levels of identity politics in place now good for our country?

Politics has always been and will always be about different sides battling it out with vitriol… both sides have corruption and alterior motives… and I do not expect a monarchy in American anytime soon… but has politics EVER been this far from center? Is there any place for a real centrist movement in this time of pro socalisim vs extreme capitalists?

Do you mean centrism or do you mean non-partisanship? Because those are two different things.

I belive Centrism is more defined as “doing what is right over what is popular”.

Perhaps the better word is in fact a true moderate. I know that trying to have a legitimate 3rd party (independents for example) win an election is not likely… ever.

But in a time where all our politicians are so far left or right, I think bringing us back to the middle of the aisle on issues (like the few examples in the OP) is needed. I feel like the current climate is forcing any future candidates to take this same extremism or not be taken seriously/backed for office.

That’s absolutely not my definition of centrism.

To me centrism is David Broder or Joe Lieberman always trying to find the midpoint between the left and the right or Bill Clinton’s triangulation.

It’s choosing positions based on a relative distance between two points and has nothing to do with what’s best for the country.

On the other hand bipartisanship is seeking common ground on issues that the left and the right can both agree are the right thing to do.

For many years we had a bipartisan foreign policy because the left and right agreed on certain things. The Republicans killed that when they decided that it was to their advantage to oppose any position that Obama took.

But do you, really? Have you looked into the economic effects of illegal immigration? Yes, there are crimes committed, but you also derive significant economic benefit from cheap labor, especially in agriculture. I get the emotional appeal of a “keep 'em out! / they tk ur jb!” policy, but there is a larger picture.

I think you’ve missed the point of objections to voter-ID laws, and it’s not really that complicated a point at all.

A lot of your questions are either easily answered or fallacies in the first place. For example:

Because maybe the right answer is that we don’t need any “improved” checks and balances in our border security. Our border security is good enough as it is, and maybe we actually need less of it than we have now.


(1) Non-citizens aren’t voting, so we don’t need to do anything about it
(2) Requiring IDs is not about ensuring that non-citizens aren’t voting but actually intended to suppress legitimate voting.

When it comes down to it, though, the real problem is not that politicians are being too extreme. The problem is that the voters like it when politicians are too extreme. The problem is not the politicians. It’s us. We get the government we deserve.

Ultimately, the solution to our political problems is not going to come from fixing the politicians. It’s going to come, if it ever does, from fixing the people.

Because the left hasn’t elected our extremists, but the right has. Now it seems the left is trending that way too, not that it’s necessarily a bad thing because I do believe it’ll stretch the overton window to the left and maybe we’ll have more acceptable “centrist” outcomes.

  1. Voting rules act like evolutionary forces, since they penalize and reward certain approaches to campaigning and certain styles of candidates. First-past-the-post creates a two-party state, given sufficient time. A change in what system of voting is used would have to be taken to allow for moderate candidates, or a different layout of Congress (e.g., having partisan congressmen make arguments to a jury-like pool of normal people, who would make the actual vote).

  2. Public, named tallies of votes by the Legislature were introduced in 1970. Previously, they would more-or-less simply count hands, without taking names or any further record. Previous to that, Congressmen were able to vote more-or-less freely, based on their understanding of the facts which was in turn based on their discussions with experts and those who would be affected by each measure. After the rule change, they are strongly bound to vote in strong accord with the demands of outside forces - be it their political base or financial backers - since those people can verify that the Congressman has voted as they have demanded. This, of course, means that expert testimony and the voice of those affected by the laws are only relevant in the minority of matters where there is no great public interest. On big and important matters, the legislators are held to a hard line on stupid measures. Restoring the old way would also help to restore moderation - and, I’ll note, is far easier to achieve than the previous measure in point #1.

I think the energy and passion is on the extremes. And that’s why a middle party option will probably never happen in the US. I used to be a Republican myself. But as the party changed, and became more extreme, I began to feel like my position was “RINO”. I accept climate change as a real thing. I think the ACA, while not perfect, could be workable to end the problems of people being uninsured. I also will admit that lowering taxes won’t create a big boom, at least not enough to pay for itself, and that taxes will have to go up to help pay down some debt. I also thought the Iraq War was a disaster.

But I’m against single-payer for the US healthcare system. I think owning guns is an individual right. While I don’t support a wall, I think we need stronger immigration enforcement of the laws we have. And I’m basically in favor of multi-lateral trade deals, and think trade overall is a good thing, and that higher tariffs are not. I’m not anti-safety-net programs, but I think they need to be occasionally looked at and re-evaluated if they’re not working well (could wind up spending more or less).

Oh, and neither party is serious when they utter their “concerns” about debt and deficits. They’re lying through their teeth.

So, I don’t fit into either party right now. Lately, I’ve been voting for more Democrats because that’s the only real way to oppose Trump, and that’s where most moderates are right now (we were drummed out of the Pub party). Once he’s gone, my vote is up for grabs.

Are you saying it’s impossible for reform proposals to play any part in fixing things?

Before addressing OP’s question, we must first debate if his assumption is correct.

In what sense are most Democratic politicians far left? I see two possibly “far left” positions among the Democratic mainstream:
(1) support for gay marriage.
(2) banning of semi-automatic high-capacity rifles.

Are these the “far left” positions that OP has in mind? Please note that many moderate Republicans accept gay marriage and the 1989 ban on importing assault rifles was imposed by George H. W. Bush.

In another point of view, one party already actively seeks the best “moderate” solutions to America’s problems and the other party serves only the bigots and kleptocrats. In that view compromise makes little sense. One side wants to fire all the government scientists. Does OP suggest that the compromise is to fire half the government scientists? One side wants to build a stupid ten-foot wall. Does OP want a five-foot wall? The GOP closed bridges deliberately so they could accuse asylum-seekers of illegal entry. Does OP think only half the bridges should have been closed?

We can discuss OP’s question after he answers these questions.

We already have a centrist party. It’s called the Democratic Party. So if you want centrist polices, vote Democrat.

If you want extreme policies, then go ahead and vote Republican, or Green, or National Socialist Workers Party, or whatever your extremist flavor is.

Regrettably, that’s probably about true, sad to say. Obviously, the left includes a bunch of crazy people as well, but they are the only game in town with enough sane people to be worth counting as a notable component of the party.

There is nothing moderate about centrism or bipartisanship. Most extreme measures are bipartisan.

  1. Iraq Invasion
  2. extreme growth in government spending
  3. Huge bailouts
  4. Unprecedented Fed intervention
  5. longest war in US history in Afghanistan
  6. drone bombings spreading throughout Mideast and into Africa
  7. NATO expansion
  8. Kill list
  9. Indefinite detention
  10. mass incarceration

Centrism and bipartisanship are not good for the country.

We need to get back to the point when we all had the same set of facts.

When people can tune into “news” that is market researched to support their pre-existing world view, and which tells them that all other news organizations are lying to them, its very hard to find common ground.

Yes governments find it much easier to enact their agenda when everyone believes the same facts. LBJ found it easy to ramp up a war after the Gulf of Tonkin “fact”. GWB found it easy to go to war after the WMD “fact”.

So, centrism and bipartisanship are extremism, partisanship is moderation, facts are opinion, and Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

I take it, then, that in your view the ideal form of government is one that is wholly dedicated only to your own extremist philosophies, and your own versions of the facts.

The last time that view was so openly expressed outside of fiction was in the general agreement on the matter by Messrs. Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, and von Ribbentrop.

Laying it on a tad thick, aren’t we? I’m absolutely fine with people having their own set of facts. Doesn’t effect me much as long as they don’t initiate force on me or people I care about.

I think that all of those 10 policies are extreme. Which policies do you think are not extreme? Even if you disagree on a couple, is that grounds for the Nazi comparison?

Ah, “their own set of facts”. This is a particularly unfortunate thing to say in the Trump era where the man has been documented so far to have uttered more than 3,000 provable lies so far in the presidency. Facts are objectively verifiable and when they cease to matter and can be manipulated at will by a ruling power it should be of concern to everyone.

No, I’m not laying it on thick. Nazi comparisons are often hyperbolic, but when it fits, it fits. Goebbels was a master at manipulating facts and lying to further the interests of the regime. Facts are not opinions, and they’re certainly not fabrications. That’s why we need strong, independent, objective media and informed voters who pay attention to the real world instead of watching idiotic “reality” shows on TV.

This is not the venue in which to delve into the complicated details of the vague 10 things you mention that you don’t like, some of which were perfectly reasonable. Understand that the US government was intentionally structured with two houses of the legislature, complex rules of procedure, and a completely independent executive branch precisely to thwart activism and make it difficult to enact sweeping changes. The many countries with parliamentary systems don’t have most of those constraints and a majority government can pretty much do what it wants, yet those countries manage to trundle along just fine. Perhaps your definition of “extremism” needs to be adjusted.

Right, extreme things become not extreme when everyone approves of them. Is that better?