CenterLine: News for Centrists 1.9.14

By Dane Test Sherrets on January 09, 2014

Welcome to this week's CenterLine - Chris Christie edition.

Obama’s Challenge: Disaffected Independents. In today's Real Clear Politics, Alexis Simendinger explores administration concerns that diminished voter enthusiasm for the Democratic Party could affect races in this year’s midterm elections.

Independent Registration Up Almost 10%: Gallup reports that 46% of Americans now describe themselves as politically independent. That's quite a surge, up from 36% in early 2013. According to RCP, "Gallup Senior Editor Jeffrey M. Jones said that because voters are less anchored to a particular party, there is 'a greater level of unpredictability to this year's congressional midterm elections.' This shift has hurt Republicans more than Democrats. Only 25 percent of Americans say they belong to the GOP, an unprecedented low." The percent of Americans identifying as Democratic held steady at 31 percent.

House Retirements Fuel Shrinking Political Center: Two House Democrats announced this week they won't seek reelection this November, part of a broader trend in which centrist lawmakers are retiring rather than run for reelection to serve in an increasingly polarized Congress. Cook Political Report finds that the number of centrist "swing" seats have declined 45% since 1998 — while at the same time, the median Democratic district has trended more liberal and the median Republican district has tilted more conservative. USA Today has the full story

"Center" does not mean "Compromise": In his latest US News & World Report column, TCP Founder Charlie Wheelan proposes a set of beliefs to define what it means to be a centrist. If you think you belong in the political middle, please consider taking the new Centrist Pledge and share it with your friends and family.

ChristieCartoon.jpg

We're shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover bare-knuckle politics in New Jersey:Chris Cillizza posts a thorough blog on how Bridge-gate might affect Chris Christie's 2016 plans.  

Who We're Watching: Republican and Democratic leaders finally agree on something. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Leader Harry Reid traded floor speeches on Wednesday, accusing the other of partisanship. Roll Call's #WGDB blog has both clips here.

Who We're Reading:
 In the latest issue of Democracy, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and Oxford professor Eric Beinhocker challenge our core assumptions of how we measure the very idea of economic progress. "How can it be that great wealth is created on Wall Street with products like credit-default swaps that destroyed the wealth of ordinary Americans - and yet we count this activity as growth?" 

Who We're Quoting: 

"In Silicon Valley, a "collaborator means someone with whom you're building something great. In D.C., it means someone committing political treason by working with the other party. And that is why Silicon Valley is now the turbo-engine of our economy and D.C. is the dead hand. To be sure, in politics compromise is not a virtue in and of itself. There are questions of true principle — civil rights, for instance — where compromise might kill the principled choice. But there has been an inflation of “principles” lately that is inhibiting compromise. A certain tax rate or retirement age is not a principle. It’s an interest that needs to be balanced against others. Today, we would be best served in meeting our biggest challenges by adopting a hybrid of the best ideas of left and right — and the fact that we can’t is sapping our strength." — Thomas Friedman, "Compromise is not a four-letter word

Top Tweets:

@RonanFarrow: All my vendettas morph into traffic studies
@EzraKlein: I once got so mad at a guy I did a full econometric analysis of retail queus

Today's Contest:
Post one of this week's top tweets on TCP's Facebook page post about CenterLine. We'll send the first respondent an author-signed copy of Charles Wheelan's latest book, "The Centrist Manifesto."

And ... that's a wrap. Thanks to James Davis and Rusty Rueff for contributing to this week's CenterLine. We welcome contributors - please send noteworthy articles, studies and tweets to cfindlay@centristproject.org.

Best,
Christie