March 26, 2019

A Manifesto for the American Center

“These are ideologically disorienting times.

Partisan polarization is severe and increasing. Compromise has become a dirty word. Democrats fear Republicans have become fascists. Republicans accuse Democrats of embracing socialism. The center of the ideological spectrum, over which presidential candidates once fought to the electoral death, has become the political empty set, with leading members of both parties fleeing it at top speed and a self-proclaimed independent and centrist (potential) candidate for president, businessman Howard Schultz, pulling an anemic 4 percent in the polls.

But what if the problem is less that voters have abandoned the center and want politicians to embrace extremism than that their preferences no longer coincide with where the political lines have been drawn over the past several decades?

What if the center still holds, but just in a different place than we’ve come to expect it?”

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