Centrist Project Blog

Why Aren't We Innovating Government?

Many years ago, a graduate student in the public policy program at the University of Chicago asked to meet with me about an idea he was mulling over. The Internet was relatively new, and he reckoned it could be harnessed to bring together communities of civic-minded citizens to improve our public decisions.

His idea was called Policy Tree. I told him I did not think it would work. In particular, if I recall correctly, I was skeptical that the political process would respond to communities of wonks sharing good ideas online.

The student was Andrew Mason. He abandoned Policy Tree and founded a company called Groupon that would eventually go public and earn him hundreds of millions of dollars.

Steak, Chicken, or Lobster?

This year’s primary season is all but over. Earlier this this week Sen. Cruz and Gov. Kasich dropped out of the race making Donald Trump the de facto nominee of the Republican party. On the other side of the aisle, Sec. Clinton’s commanding delegate lead over Sen. Sanders makes her the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party barring anything unforeseen.

Unfortunately in a Trump vs. Clinton race the winner will not be the candidate who inspires the country with their vision for the future but rather the candidate the American people decide they dislike the least.

Independents Are the Answer

America's political system is going to change. The last nine months have been the political equivalent of Pearl Harbor. Voters are still in shock and denial, but we know something very different must lie ahead.


When I wrote the Centrist Manifesto in 2013, it was hard to believe politics could get worse. Boy, was I wrong. 

The presidential election is the most dysfunctional we've had in our lifetimes. It should not be a surprise that the majority of voters are fed up by partisan extremists and a system that has pulled the parties so far left and right they agree on nothing. Our nation’s vast challenges are left unsolved. That’s not right. You know that – that’s why you have found us.

How A State Can Prevent 3.2 Million Registered Voters From Voting

On a chilly April day over a hundred protesters gather on the steps of a City Hall and repeatedly chant “Let us vote, let us vote”. You can hear the passion in the protesters voices but you can also sense a silent acknowledgement among them that they will not be able to cast their vote in the immediate future.

This may seem like a scene from a pre-Civil Rights era or a 1920s suffragette rally but, amazingly, it is not. I watched this happen yesterday in New York.

Mitch McConnell, the Anti-Lincoln

Last week I attended Civil War night at my son's middle school. (It's like a science fair, only all the exhibits illustrate some facet of the Civil War.) While examining a display on the election of 1864, I had an epiphany: Mitch McConnell is the anti-Lincoln. He has presided over the demise of the "party of Lincoln" in part because his behavior is so non-Lincoln-esqe.

The Supreme Court Vacancy: Another Example Of How The Parties Hurt Our Country

        2016 is almost certain to be a year that political scientists and historians will study for decades to come. In a presidential election season where one party’s front runner has made forcing Mexico to build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants out a core component of his campaign while a competitive candidate in another party is advocating for free healthcare/education it is clear that deep political fault lines have formed. The death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia may be what causes an actual political earthquake.

What We Learned From Iowa

On Monday residents in Iowa were able to cast the first votes in the 2016 presidential primary race. At the end of the caucus we learned that Ted Cruz defied the polling leading up to the caucus by defeating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton clinched a victory over Bernie Sanders by the skin of her teeth. This week I wanted to take a look back at the strengths and weaknesses exhibited by the leading campaigns:



Worst Kept Secret In Washington

Earlier this week President Obama delivered his final State Of The Union.  His speech touched on the successes and shortcomings his administration has had on issues ranging from national security to the economy. However, the President said that one of his biggest regrets was “that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better.”

The President argued that there are good people “who would like to see more cooperation, a more elevated debate in Washington, but feel trapped by the imperatives of getting elected, by the noise coming out of your base...It's the worst kept secret in Washington."

Centrist Project: What We Have Learned

The end of a year is an important time for reflection. In order for a person or organization to grow they need to continually ask themselves: What has gone well for me so far? What can I improve on? As the new year approaches we here at The Centrist Project wanted to take a look back at our experience thus far so we can take the lessons learned with us into 2016 and beyond. Here are a couple of the big ones: