In a 09/01/1996 article for the Brookings Institution, Sarah A. Binder writes, “In a political system that demands compromise and accommodation to bring about change, the center is considered vital to the moderate, bipartisan public policymaking generally preferred by the American public. Absent a political center, increased partisanship and ideological polarization are inevitable and sure to feed public distrust of and distaste for politicians and the political process.”
In his 05/22/2015 column for the Washington Post, David Ignatius writes, “The disenfranchisement of the center is a fact of modern politics. That should be worrisome even if you think the center is an ideological muddle. As we’ve seen in recent years, in a world dominated by the political wings, the compromises necessary for passing any legislation become difficult. As the center disappears, so does governance.”
In his 03/28/17 commentary The Political Center Is (Almost) Dead, psychology professor Dr. Gary L. Welton writes, “America has taken yet another step toward intolerance, as the left cannot tolerate the right, and the right cannot tolerate the left.” Dr. Welton concludes, “Let’s practice a more reasoned and tolerant dialogue. Let’s quit polarizing America. We desperately need a stronger input from centrist America.”
In his 06/22/2017 commentary for Real Clear Politics, retired Roll Call executive editor Morton Kondracke sounds a clarion call to strengthen the center of American politics. He writes, “Before our savagely polarized country rips itself apart with violent language and violent deeds, it’s time for the nation’s adult leaders to rally and fortify the political center. I’m not talking about national Republican and Democratic leaders. They’re hopeless. They’re momentarily talking up bipartisan unity after the near-massacre of the congressional GOP baseball team last week. But otherwise they’re doing everything on a divisive, partisan basis—as usual.”
The above-quoted writers are correct. America needs a strong political center.
So, just what are the moderates who are in America’s political center? That question will be answered in Part 2 of this topic.