Monday, June 06, 2005

The Centrist Reform Movement

In a world of polarized politics, Centrists are often ignored or demeaned as weak and ineffectual. But the days of the mushy moderate are over. New onto the scene are the Centrist reformers. Led by The Centrist Coalition, author of Independent Nation and Centrist newspaper columnist, John Avlon and an ever growing Centrist blogosphere, Centrists are mobilizing with the goal of changing the political landscape of America.

What is the Centrist reform movement? Centrist ideas reach into every conceivable issue, but the key goals are as follows:

Reform Redistricting: In 2004, only five incumbents in the House of Representatives were defeated and only 22 of 435 contests were decided by a margin of less than 10 percent. This is due to rampant gerrymandering. The two major parties have colluded to turn almost every district into a “safe” district. This is absolutely not the intent of the Founders. Districts should be laid out by geology, not ideology. Competitive elections are essential to good government. We must change the way this nation redistricts.

Open Primaries: Every American should have the opportunity to vote in either party’s Presidential primary. Over 40% of Americans are registered Independents and in many states, they aren’t allowed to vote in primaries. The election of our President is too important to allow the partisan party bases be the sole determiners of who gets to run. We must convince states to open their primaries to all registered voters, regardless of political affiliation.

Reduce the Influence of Special Interests: Single-issue interest groups wield far too much power in government. While the membership in any given interest group includes only a small percentage of the American people, they use undue influence and threats of political retribution to push congressmen and women to vote in favor of special interests rather than American interests. Average Americans must come together and let our representatives know that we don’t want the special interests to rule Washington.

Strengthen the Center in Congress: We must let Centrist members of Congress know they have a wide and deep base of Centrist voters. They don’t need to appeal to the partisan wings because they can find support right in the middle. This is how John McCain won 77% of the Arizona vote last election. We must encourage the Centrist congressmen and women to vote their convictions first. We must encourage them to stick together and keep the balance of congressional power centered.

Change the Tenor of Political Debate: Too many members of the media and the electorate have bought into the two party’s polarization of politics. Instead of civilly discussing ideas, we too often fall into partisan spin and propaganda. If we are to continue to move forward as a nation we must begin discussing our differences reasonably and without the name-calling, smear campaigns and exploitation of wedge issues. The wide, nearly limitless variety of opinions in America is what makes us strong. But we squander that strength if we lose the ability to come together and act reasonably.

This is just a short list of what Centrist reformers stand for. Government by the left and right wings is not working. Instead of new ideas and solutions we get endless conflict and message repackaging. This has to change. And Centrists are working to do just that.

UPDATE: Read more at our new post, Centrist Q & A.


At 2:30 PM, Blogger Tom - doubts and all said...

I think I'll blockquote you over at my place just as an example of how to state a position.

If the far left and far right were required to state their cases so succinctly, we might find ourselves in an Arizona sized center.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Thanks Tom, I appreciate it.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Joe Weedon said...

Open primaries should not be limited to presidential elections. The moderation of candidates in state-wide (gubernatorial and Senate) and congressional primaries is equally as important.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Rob Jackson said...

I was going to poke fun at some of your points but I think I'll save that for my own blog. :-)

great summation though

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Jdeer165 said...

I think probably the most important goal of those you listed should be the fixing of the how voting districts are created. After that is taken out of the two parties' hands the rest becomes a lot easier.

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous chris faulkner said...

I am ferociously partisan and I believe we need redistricting reform. Competitive elections are healthy for parties and democracy. Non-competitive elections are killing state legislatures and the Congress.

I think your other points are...interesting.

At 12:47 AM, Blogger BWS said...

What a fantastic entry. As a registered voter in California who is "not declared" for my party affiliation, I found the Centrist Agenda exactly what is needed in California politics. Gerrymandering runs rampant in California politics, so much so that it has secured seats for the most extreme left and right wing politicians. I can only hope that Schwarzenegger's special election will take place with a redistricting reform package. I feel very isolated in California because the Republican party is ran by extreme religious and the Democratic party is funded souly by extreme environmentalists. We need a middle, a centrist agenda in California, immediately!!

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

California would be a great place to start with redistricting, particularly since the Governor has already proposed the idea. The Democrats won't like it but if there's a lot of popular support...


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