As you are well aware, an impasse in the Senate led to a short shutdown in the Federal Government, for about 3-4 days. No big deal. This time. News Media went over the top, but we ordinary citizens knew the shutdown of 5 years ago lasted longer and had little impact. But what would a shutdown for a month look like? Or two? Or more? Or a shutdown over increasing the Federal debt limit?
This all seems so childish. Why is this happening? On page 1 of today’s (Monday, January 22, 2018) Wall Street Journal, there’s an article entitled “Party Bases Flex Their Muscles”. Here is a portion, quoted directly: “In this case, as in many others, the process is being driven not by those in the broad center but by those in the more narrow and partisan ideological bases of the two parties. The shutdown has happened because most politicians worry more about a backlash from those bases for not being rigid enough than about an adverse reaction from the broader public for being too rigid”. And: “Activists in the bases, after all, provide the energy in election season, and they have been increasingly willing to shoot their own kin when they prove too willing to compromise with the other side”
I have not written, and cannot write a better, more powerful and persuasive reason for the creation of a third party, a Centrist party, who would have its own activists forcing compromise and actions favoring the broad neglected center of our nation. People with political experience will say that the two major parties have made it impossible for a third party to arise, but they are shortsighted and wrong. Their examples are for third party Presidential candidates, coming forth in an election year. An effort that starts now, and has the Presidential election of 2024 in mind, can build grass roots support, House and Senate members, and challenge the existing parties, ending the dominance by the extremes.
But what, you say, can we poor individuals of the center do about it? We can write and comment on this blog. We can spread the word of this blog to everyone we know, urging subscription. We can hope and work to achieve wider recognition, acceptance, and call to action. With a larger mass, we can attract the politicians who are able and in the center, to quit their party and give legitimacy and leadership to this party. We can start a movement to save our nation from crippling internal strife and move forward, but the movement starts with you.
8 thoughts on “Shutdown Proves Need for American Centrist”
Once again you are spot on. It looks likely that the next round of the continuing resolutions to keep the government operating will demonstrate the polarization of the parties even more. The gap between the poles of the two major parties begs to be filled centrists.
Thanks, Stu. I’m at 55 subscribers. Help me get to over 100 by urging your friends, former colleagues and business associates to read it and subscribe!
You are absolutely correct, and the WSJ quote does “say it all”. The only addendum I would add is that that the nominating conventions, also dominated by the “base” of each party, managed to give us, in my opinion and experience, the two most flawed candidates ever.
Yes, we need an alternative that speaks to and for all of us in between the poles.
Paul–I agree with you completely about the conventions, because those attending are the activists, and the most polarized. Help, by getting friends, colleagues, former associates to subscribe!
The interesting thing is that the centrist Senators are VERY well aware that they hold disproportionate power at the moment. It makes me wonder if there’s a more practical way to edge into a Centrist party if someone could convince 5-8 Senators on each side to create an informal Bi-partisan Centrist Caucus to formalize their power a bit. That would be an easy way to set the stage for more down the road.
Matt–thanks! I agree with you, and it’s got a name–the Senate Fulcrum Strategy. All we need is enough subscribers to attract a political “name”, to help lead the movement!
He has a point I suppose. I think it matter a LOT what exactly his platform is. I think it would get the most people if it were economically rational and moderate (thinking seriously about which parties ‘type’ of policies work at a specific moment) and socially completely liberal. I don’t think it will work any other way, really. What do you think? I know you have kind of always said things are more stable in 3’s.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ’20
Economics and Philosophy Majors, PPE Minor
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Megan–thanks very much for your comments! I think the positioning has to be financially conservative (but not extreme) and socially moderate to liberal (again, not extreme). As far as stability, I actually think two is the most stable number. Three is a bit less stable, but clearly more so than 4 or more. A third party may over time cause the withering away of whichever one of the two major existing parties adapts the slowest. That’s what happened to the Whigs in 1860, when the Republicans first took Presidential office. It’s what happened earlier to the Federalist party when the Democratic Republicans (forerunner of today’s Democrats) and the Whigs gained strength.
If you like some of the short policy essays that have been posted, I hope you’ll share them with friends and encourage them to subscribe.