Wednesday, September 28, 2011

America’s Future Relies on the Radical Center

There is probably only one group more lonely than the 10% of Mormons who are “liberal," American’s most politically conservative religious denomination and that’s the remaining 3% of Republicans who are liberal. 

So the Democratic base must be all liberals, right?  After all, that’s what’s pounded into our brains from the superficial, conflict-driven news reports that mold this as public perception.

Nope, analysis shows that the true numeric base of the Democratic Party are moderates, not liberals, which must be why Republicans have become pathologically adverse to compromise or any sort of “third-way,” moderate solution.Moderates

They fear it will benefit Democrats but in reality this aversion may be isolating that party more and more from the ideology of the largest segment of Americans, “moderates.”

The reality that conservative Ronald Reagan understood and rode to victory on in 1980 has been the key to winning every election since then.  It is all about winning over moderates and by nature moderates are less concerned about political power and more concerned about what works and understand that what works is compromise and bipartisanship.

Remember, only a 5 point swing among “moderates” saved George W. Bush from being a one-term president.

Jon Huntsman Jr. gets it and so do the 24% of Republicans who are moderates.  But Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are playing first to the nearly three out of four Republicans who are far to the right of Reagan, let alone the American mainstream, and predominantly driven only by orthodoxy.

A poll earlier this month revealed that Democrats view both themselves as individual voters and their party as “moderate.”  Independents also predominantly view themselves as moderates although they view other Independents as a group as a little more conservative.

Republicans?  They view themselves to the right of their party and Democrats as all liberals.  They are cocooned in this misperception by devotion to myside-biased-news consumption and marooned in an inflexible closed-loop view of their beliefs as possessions.

A positive sign for moderation was the 23 point decline in favorability for Republican leadership among extreme Tea Partiers following the debt ceiling agreement and a 37 point decline in opinion for the Tea Party faction among Republicans overall.

Unleashed, maybe the Congressional Super Committee will be more open to a bipartisan deficit-reduction proposal by the moderate Third Way organization.

But even if a faction of that group chooses to remain isolated, cocooned and marooned, Republicans aren’t doomed as long as they remember that moderates also represented the largest share of the electorate in 13 of the last 14 congressional election cycles.

The 2012 elections will all come down to three things in the opinion of many:

1) economic despair blinded to its origins by rhetoric and memory loss,

2) whether the mainstream news media can see past its obsession with balance to distinguish fact from fiction, and

3) how susceptible my fellow moderates are to memory loss and massive doses of distortion-laced attack adds by 527-organizations and other anonymous groups that thanks to an extremely narrow Supreme Count decision can be anonymously funded by corporations.

Regardless of whether the final outcomes of next year’s presidential and congressional elections ultimately favor Republicans, Democrats or Independents, the final arbiters will be moderates, not conservatives or liberals.

Un-grid-locking America will depend on electing people open to a third-way, regardless of political affiliation.

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