The Wedging of America and the Suppression of the Center

Posted by Erik Fogg on November 24, 2015 at 3:17 PM

The United States is made up of about 1/3 moderates and has more Independents than any other party affiliation. As a reader of the Centrist Project blog, you likely already know this.

Even within the Republican and Democratic parties, and among liberals and conservatives, there is a wide spectrum of policy opinions on issues ranging from economics to abortion.  It may seem obvious that Americans’ multifaceted and surprisingly centrist perspectives aren’t reflected in party candidates, but there is more afoot here.

Read More →

3 Times Leaders Went Against Their Party For The Greater Good

Posted by Dane Sherrets on November 19, 2015 at 1:10 PM

The 113th Congress was rated one of the least productive congresses in history, and the 114th is not shaping up to do much better. Things have gotten so bad that we consider it an achievement when our elected officials just agree to pay the bills instead of shutting down the government.

But things were not always like this. There have been points in U.S history when our leaders put down their party label and walked across the aisle to get things done. Here are just three examples:

Read More →

The Bumper Sticker Party

Posted by Charles Wheelan on November 04, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Last week's debate was an inevitable clash between two institutions in crisis: political journalism and the Republican Party. (The Democrats are stuck in the 1960s, so let's leave them aside for now.)

The embarrassing performance by the CNBC moderators is what happens when the "gotcha" journalism inspired by Watergate (and subsequent scandals) intersects with the "news as entertainment" genre born of the 24-hour news channels.

Read More →

Can We Call This A Democracy?

Posted by Dane Sherrets on October 21, 2015 at 4:37 PM

It is no secret that the two major parties in the U.S have actively worked to rig the election system for their own benefit and so they can drown out any independent voices. I was reminded of this fact earlier this year when the Florida legislature was unable to come up with a new district map after the previous one was found to be illegal. Inspired by my home state, I want to shed light on a few other obstacles the parties put in front of our democracy. Things like...

Read More →

The Democratic Debate Superlatives

Posted by Dane Sherrets on October 19, 2015 at 3:47 PM

Last week CNN hosted the first Democratic party debates. While the political analysts and talking heads are each offering up their take on who won and lost I think that each candidate gave a performance worthy of winning a debate superlative: 

Read More →

Pro-Life, Anti-Plan

Posted by Charles Wheelan on October 16, 2015 at 3:23 PM

I'm not sure the Republican presidential candidates really care much about abortion. Yes, there is lots of huffing and puffing about the Supreme Court and Planned Parenthood, all of which plays well among a narrow segment of voters in the primaries. But here is the thing: At no point in either of the debates, or at any other point in the campaign that I know of, has a Republican candidate offered a credible plan for reducing the number of abortions performed in America.

Read More →

What I Learned Working For Both Parties

Posted by Dane Sherrets on September 16, 2015 at 10:57 AM

With the way many people view government nowadays it is typical for me to get a strange look when I tell someone that I work in politics. I get an even stranger look when I tell them that I have worked for both parties. I always have to explain that I felt like neither party addresses all of the issues that are important to me and, surprisingly, I have found that most people will agree with that statement. After I graduated college I interned for a Tea Party Republican and in the 2014 election cycle I worked on a Democratic Statewide campaign. These were both incredibly formative experiences that taught me that one of our Country’s biggest problems has a common sense solution.

Read More →

What Is Your Story?

Posted by Andy Smith on July 21, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Personal stories matter in politics. Personal stories connect us to the issues. They tie large, abstract issues to personal, human events. They help us empathize. They help us connect to each other, allowing us to understand, even if we don’t agree. It’s personal stories that change opinions.

At a Centrist Project event last week, I met Jimmy LaSalvia, a gay conservative who has left the Republican Party. For years Jimmy had worked inside his party as founder of GOProud and as national staff for the Log Cabin Republicans. In 2014, disillusioned by the deeply entrenched opinions on evolving social and cultural issues, Jimmy announced he was leaving the Republican party, changing his affiliation to “no party.”

My conversation with Jimmy got me thinking about the personal events that lead us to the political decisions we make. Among frustrated voters — Independents, non-voters, and even voters who maintain a party affiliation — these stories are even more important, helping to ground and humanize a conscious decision to reject some of our countries oldest institutions.

Read More →

Qualities of Leadership

Posted by Andy Smith on July 11, 2015 at 8:00 PM

"What can be simpler or more accurately stated? The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists." - Donald Trump

"People don't have the guts to address [Illegal Immigration]" - Donald Trump

"Our next President must work with Congress and every other willing partner across our entire country. And I will do just that -- to turn the tide so these currents start working for us more than against us." - Hillary Clinton

"These Republicans trip over themselves promising lower taxes for the wealthy and fewer rules for the biggest corporations without regard for how that will make income inequality even worse." - Hillary Clinton

On April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed by a white man. That night, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was schedule to give a speech at a rally in the heart of Indianapolis' ghetto. Despite being urged by the Indianapolis police chief to cancel the event -- warning that riots were certain to erupt -- Kennedy resolved to attend.

Many in the crowd of three thousand mostly black attendees were not aware that King had been assassinated. Stepping to the microphone, Kennedy delivered the sad news.

"I have some very sad news for all of you and I think some sad news for all of our fellow citizens and people who love peace all over the world. And that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee."

The outpouring of grief can be felt in the audio records of the speech, but Kennedy continued. What followed was an improvised speech but one of immense power, setting a standard for political leadership that seems to be absent among the current presidential candidates.

Read More →

Millennials Aren't Apathetic

Posted by Andy Smith on June 26, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Between September and December, 2014, you probably heard a lot about Millennials. Prior to the election, the conversations and articles likely focused on "Will they vote?" Afterwards it shifted to, "Why didn't they vote?"

The apathetic voting habits of young Americans is a constant fixation during each election cycle. The challenges facing this generation are generally accepted across age groups, with majorities of Gen X, Boomers, and Silents saying young adults face more economic challenges today than they themselves faced when they were starting out. The apathetic brand is a convenient way to explain why more Millennials don't engage with the system: they don't care.

Apathy is not the mass character flaw of an entire generation. It is a brand allowing the economic challenges Millennials face to be recast as problems of our own making, while shifting attention away from the root cause of our low participation.

Read More →