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Strategies

The New Moderate Action Plan

How centrists can take over the world, or at least get noticed.

1. Create a lively forum for moderate opinion. Polls consistently tell us that more Americans consider themselves politically moderate than either liberal or conservative. Yet you’d never know it if you had to judge by the current state of the American media! Have you ever seen a political magazine for moderates? Where’s our version of National Review or The Nation?  The New Moderate  intends to remedy that unfortunate gap in the realm of ideas, and we’re just foolhardy enough to believe we can succeed.

2. Build an online community. The Web is the ideal medium for fostering awareness of moderate opinions and forging a cohesive base. Until now, most moderates have watched passively as the left and right battled it out. Some of us, frankly, are tired of getting caught in the crossfire. The fact is, thinking moderates have long been starved for the happy companionship of like-minded opinions. We moderates need to band together, support each other and strive to make our voices heard. We can do it together, and we can do it here.

3. Clarify our ideas. We don’t have to agree on every issue, and I’m sure we never will. But we moderates need to hammer out a coherent political philosophy that can compete successfully with the louder ideologies of the right and left. Yes, our ideas are more subtle; that’s what makes us moderates. But our greatest potential appeal is to common sense. Unlike the extremists, we don’t slant our ideas to favor a designated segment of the population. We’re not a movement of well-entrenched plutocrats or alienated minorities. We realize that anyone who governs America must govern all the people. Therefore, our goal is to be as fair as possible to as many people as possible. Build on that concept, and we could create a political movement with mass appeal.

4. Put our ideas before the public. Once we know what we stand for, we have to let everyone else know what we stand for. The New Moderate is a good place to start. But we also need to submit opinion pieces to other media outlets — even generate our own moderate-branded radio and TV talk shows. Instead of simply preaching to the choir, we’ll be winning converts.

5. Recruit talent from the moderate right and moderate left. So many first-rate writers, thinkers and politicians have been forced to align themselves with the extremists because that’s where the money is (both literally and figuratively). We need to recruit these talented people to our ranks: journalists, radio and TV pundits, strategists and political hopefuls alike. Once we create a vocal and viable center, we’ll inevitably attract the talent we need to gain momentum as a movement.

6. Launch a moderate political party. We’ve talked about it on and off. Now we need to do it. The Republicans and Democrats have repeatedly demonstrated that they’re incapable of representing the best interests of the greatest number of people. We know the system is broken when moderate politicians from both parties have to jump ship in order to win their own primaries. Can we fix it? Yes we can!

7. Take over the world! Well, not exactly. One of the marks of a good moderate is a willingness to hear from both sides of the political aisle and formulate the most reasonable approach to each issue. Nearly all the evil perpetrated by governments occurs when extremists commandeer the ship (think of the French Revolution, the Bolsheviks, Nazi Germany and Islamist Iran). Putting moderate parties in power would safeguard the world from the dangers of extremism. The only potential danger of moderate power is that we might become too dominant: the electorate would consistently support us over the ideologues from our rival parties. (I suppose that’s a danger we can live with.) We’d win support from the moderate right and moderate left, while the extremists would be reduced to fringe players appealing to fringe constituencies. As perhaps they should be.

Take heart, fellow moderates! As of this moment, we’re finished being a vast, silent no-man’s-land between the big guns of the right and left. The time has come to launch a quiet revolution for the cause of reason and moderation. Let it begin now. Let it begin here.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. Daryl permalink
    July 5, 2010 1:43 pm

    Rick,

    OK, let’s do this moderate party thing. There are plenty of unhappy voters. Some register as independents. Some are unhappy Democrats and Republicans, but most of them would probably be reluctant to jump to a new party unless it gets sufficiently big and developed. Maybe some independents would come in early, since they presumably have less connection with the Dems and Reps than bona fide party members.

    So, how is this to be done? From what I can see, the moderates are fragmented like everyone else (http://www.uspoliticsguide.com/American_Political_Directory/Centrist_Political_Blogs.php). It is not clear to me that they talk to each other much, but I may be mistaken about that. I would guess that moderates need to be made more aware of each other and asked to collaborate or at least cooperate with one another, e.g., by linking to each others’ websites, by quoting views on their own and third party websites, etc. All of that would require some initial coordination and consensus about what a moderate group would officially endorse. There needs to be some coherence and consensus.

    Maybe it is time to invite people to formally join a formal moderate politics/party group. It would not cost anything in money, but would (or should) require some sort of commitment to participate in return for membership and the opportunity to contribute to and vote on official endorsed policy positions. The group could include Democrats and Republicans who want to stay in their parties for now, but willing to work for the group’s policies they can agree to support.

    The group needs people willing to volunteer to be state, county and city chairpersons/organizers. The leaders need to at least try to publicize the group’s existence (there are no/low cost ways of doing that) and set up ways to form policies with input from members who want to contribute in some way. State leaders would do what they could to get a moderate party listed as an official party – that would give interested independents a place to go. The longer term problem of course is finding intelligent people willing to run for office, but that is where moderates ultimately need to go.

    My guess is that some sort of formal group and membership is needed to create something that moderates can coalesce around. Absent that, moderates may stay fragmented and have little impact. To flesh this out will take a lot of discussion, but it seems to me that something tangible is probably necessary. A formal group seems to be one obvious answer to at least starting to get like-minded people to work and compromise with each other.

    Your thoughts?

    • Taliesin permalink
      July 6, 2010 9:35 pm

      Anyone got the money to do it? ;-)

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 18, 2011 3:37 pm

      that framework is essental// why is there hundreds of hours for only right and left commentators?//answer: ordinary citizens would soon reject both and join us//that would not keep the control of america by the very few// an entire network (ABC,etc.) will have to become the moderate sounding board for busy “regular” citizens to join.No other approach will succeed.

      • July 18, 2011 5:28 pm

        CNN is starting to position itself as a moderate network, and I hope it works for them. Of course they lag behind the conservative (Fox) and liberal (MSNBC) cable networks.

      • AMAC permalink
        July 21, 2011 7:04 pm

        I will have to start watching CNN to see if I notice a difference. Thanks for the tip. Like you, Rick, I hope it works out for them. I am worried more people watch these “News Channels” to be shocked, offended, or further polarized than to actually be informed.

      • Jesse C permalink
        September 1, 2011 5:47 pm

        I agree with AMAC here. The 24 hour news networks have designed their programming to appeal to that same element in people that The Jersey Shore does. Everyone says they hate that show, but people continue to watch it because they “..can’t wait to see what that idiot Snookie does next..”

        I suspect that most people watch shows like Hannity or Olbermann because they want to see some partisan bloodshed, to watch their team score a touchdown, so to speak.

  2. Daryl permalink
    July 7, 2010 4:10 pm

    Talesin,

    Your comment is disappointing.

    Yes, sooner or later money would probably be needed. However, proposals to form a group, ask for volunteers, and begin efforts to get moderates to talk and work with each other can be done almost exclusively online for no significant cost. Other than time, getting moderates to link to each others’ websites cost nothing, but it does help raise the profile of moderates. This strategy post by Mr. Bayan argues that a new party is needed and invites moderates to do that. I agree with that sentiment and want to try. Sure, there are a million ways the effort can lead to nothing or ultimately fail. Maybe most moderates are not interested in forming a new party. Maybe they are. Maybe moderates are actually a small minority and will never again be influential. Who knows?

    Regardless, unless something tangible is tried by someone, somewhere, I suspect that discontented moderates will remain discontented and without much influence while the liberal and conservatives continue to drag the country through more political failure.

    Speaking for myself, as long as I have financial resources I am willing to put some resource into the effort, even if it is a long shot. I am willing to ask my state what is needed to register a new party and how much it costs to do that. I am willing to work on papers of incorporation for a new party. All of those things cost essentially nothing but time. In the early stages of online organizing, it should cost little or nothing to at least see if moderates really are willing to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. IMHO, the money question is premature. The issue is whether people are willing to organize online or not. If they are not, money is irrelevant because there will be nothing to spend it on.

    In fact, it would be great if moderates did unite and organize and got to a place where real money was needed to go to the next step. That would mean that there is at least some chance of success, even if it is a faint chance.

  3. Daryl permalink
    July 10, 2010 9:13 am

    This is puzzling indeed. Item 6 on this post includes this: “Launch a moderate political party.” The response here to my suggestion to do that is zero. I have contacted essentially all of the centrists/moderates listed at http://www.uspoliticsguide.com/American_Political_Directory/Centrist_Political_Blogs.php, and their response so far is also zero.

    Guess I was too heavy handed, too direct and/or naive. Either that, or maybe most moderates are not yet ready or willing to try.

    Too bad, it is a missed opportunity. There are a lot of people unhappy with politics as usual. Discontent like that, not happiness, is the motivating force behind new political movements. Consider where moveon.org came from. Ditto for the Tea Party. Anger, fear and/or discontent is what motivated and united them.

    Nonetheless, I will keep looking and if I do find people willing to form a moderate party, everyone here is invited.

    • July 11, 2010 11:45 am

      Daryl,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. (I’ve been insanely busy this past week.) Your points are well expressed and well taken, and I commend your dedication to the moderate cause.

      Here’s my perspective, almost exactly a year after having written the “mission” statement on this page. There’s no shortage of moderate bloggers, moderate groups and even moderate parties in the U.S. The problem, as you surmised, is the fragmentation: each group maintains its own isolated fiefdom on the Web, and each wants to think of itself as top dog (or potential top dog) in the moderate movement.

      I think the logical first step, before we can form a moderate party, is to form a loose association of moderate/centrist/independent bloggers and organizations. We’d all be equals within this confederation, and nobody’s ego would be bruised.

      I’m already associated with a group called CenterMovement.org, which is based in New Hampshire. It’s a small group at this point, with its own blog and aggregator, and we plan to form a nonprofit arm to start a grassroots centrist movement. We have a good, dedicated board of directors and a lot of ambition. Maybe you can ally yourself with us.

      Of course, even this group is just one of many moderate groups out there, none of them with any significant public visibility. That’s our challenge: unite all the disparate groups first, pool our resources, gain visibility, solicit grants and contributions, THEN form a unified third party to represent all moderates and independents. But we have to overcome the individual egos that are keeping the movement fragmented at this point. Forming a loose association of moderates is probably the way to start.

      What do you think?

  4. Daryl permalink
    July 15, 2010 5:11 pm

    Thanks for your comments. I understand being busy. Your suggestion to form some sort of association makes sense. You are right that there are some sensitive folks involved, so things need to go slowly. For myself, I am looking into starting a moderate party in my state. There appear to be moderate parties or some nascent form thereof in Rhode Island and Alabama, but I have not yet contacted them. I will contact you at your email for further discussion/planning.

  5. Dianne permalink
    November 28, 2010 11:29 am

    It is getting us to agree to disagree that will be the key to getting a coherent group out of the “middle”, as you call us. Everyone has there Pet project, Pet Peeves, and Pet rants. Getting us to set those aside and work together is going to take some tremendous persuasion. There are a few things we all seem to agree on (like no tax cuts for the rich), and that may be what our middle-of-the-road politicians need to focus on to get elected. I am thrilled to have found your site, and am looking for more similar. Another step (and I see that you are doing it) is to link to each others’ “Moderate” web sites. Thank you for you wonderful writing. It is a start. I think we will be electing people who are Moderate through independent means long before any “party” gets started. Getting an official political part started and recognized is hard going. In my state (WA) we are able to vote for any one without political affiliation. Yeah! We had to fight the Federal government for our right to vote this way. If all the states did the same we might not need political parties at all. Candidates would just state their positions and we could decide whether we agree or not. Just another thought/way of doing things.

  6. Ian Robertson permalink
    March 11, 2011 1:07 pm

    Hi Again, I just discovered your site and am reading through it.

    One sad observation, the ratio of the activity level of posters to the intelligence and effort level of the site is, unfortunately, a comment on the situation. You have a great site, but where is everybody?

    Well, I am writing a book on the subject, would love to talk more with you.

  7. John Cannon permalink
    April 10, 2011 2:09 pm

    I admire what you are doing but reality dictates that it takes millions of dollars to make a substantial impact in current politics. How do you plan to tackle that.

  8. April 16, 2011 1:07 pm

    I just found your website and like what is written. I have in the last year had three letters printed in the KC Star and one in USA Today, all pushing the moderate political view. I want to do what I can to prevent the extreme conservatives and extreme liberals from harming our country anymore than they already have. I started searching and found several sites for moderates.

    I agree with what some of you say about getting all the different moderate organizations working together. I do think it would help tremendously if we had a well known moderate step up to lead the movement. A good person would be the mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg, who has been both a republican and democrat. He has shown an interest at different times running as a independent against the republican and democtats. He or someone well known like him would surely help .

    I will keep reading and do what I can. Maybe there is a way I can help through Facebook or one of the other similar sites. We need to save America and keep her as a great county which is not presently happening.

    • AMAC permalink
      July 21, 2011 10:43 am

      I agree. I think that if one chaismatic moderate political figure would step forward and take a chance, the movement could really take off. Being from Texas, I have grown very tired of the extreme conservatives. I do not know as much about Bloomberg other than his background, but his high profile position in politics and business would make him a good canidate. We need it more than ever right now. With both parties agreeing we need to raise the debt ceiling, they still can’t make a deal working together!?

  9. AMAC permalink
    July 21, 2011 12:37 am

    I hope that something can be done to energize the huge base of moderate voters that exists. I would like to see a party developed and run by regular citizens that does not run itself like another large corporation. I would like to see politicians join that worry more about doing what they believe is right that what their party believes, or appears to believe is right. Moderates decide almost every election, but only for two ideologies. I think most people agree that some form of tax reform is needed. Too few contribute, upper and lower class alike. Most agree that the government spends too much. Parties argue over national control, except when it benefits their agenda. Why do we continue to watch this hipocracy play out? I believe that we should use this forum to establish an immediate agenda of very specific and measurable short term and long term goals for a moderate government. We should establish a specific plan for tax reform, spending control, education reform, campaign reform, and the list goes on. Government control in necessary in many things, and not needed in others. Why do rich, out of touch, biased individuals make our laws? When I look at C-Span, I see a retirement home deciding my future!!! I want businesses to be treated fairly, but I also want them to treat the consumers and employees fairly. I want to see US based companies consist of US based jobs. I want politics out of my childrens education. I would like my children to recieve an unbiased education and be allowed to form their own ideology. I want a news channel that has the news, not unabated editorial pieces (i.e. Fox News, MSNBC). I have voted for both parties, and I am seldom happy with my choices.

    First time to post on a web site, sorry for the rant!!

  10. Amy permalink
    October 5, 2011 2:19 am

    Just curious, if there is anything in the works to get started making this a reality? Maybe a Facebook group so the word would be spread easily, and more accessible? I have a lot of free time on my hands and am so ready for this party to happen. Let me know :)

    • October 5, 2011 11:16 am

      Amy: Good question. I tried a Facebook group but it never really took off… and it essentially split my readers into two separate groups. The biggest challenge for those of us who want to build a moderate movement (and I should add it to the strategy list) is how to unite all the different moderate/centrist/independent bloggers and organizations under a single banner. I think everyone wants to be “master of his domain” — it’s only natural. But at some point, if we really want to become a national force, we’ll have to bring all those scattered groups together. I compare it to Bismarck creating a united Germany from dozens of separate German-speaking states back around 1870. I’ll have to read how he did it.

      • Amy permalink
        October 5, 2011 2:59 pm

        That’s a good point, Rick. Probably harder than it would seem. Perhaps if we did create a Facebook group, and asked all the bloggers listed here on your page to join, letting them each be admins/moderators, we could collect everyone into one group, with all being represented on equal footing? Then we’d have all the followers of each blog united in one place. We could always post the links to all their independent blogs on the page.

  11. Ian Robertson permalink
    October 5, 2011 11:23 am

    Amy: Do it, do it!

  12. Jim Winer permalink
    October 28, 2011 11:10 pm

    I have a very simple strategy that I intend to propagate to the extent that I can.

    A POX ON BOTH YOUR PARTIES!

    As an Independent, I will boycott the polls rather than vote for either a Democrat or a Republican again. My message is simple: get out! Your time is over!

    Give me an alternative that is clearly not status quo!

  13. October 29, 2011 12:34 am

    Jim: I sympathize with your Shakespearean fury, and I think most Americans (even some liberals and conservatives) are disgusted with our current two-party system. A boycott would work only if every citizen were to participate in it; otherwise, the hacks would still get elected by the faithful, even if they’re a tiny percentage of the electorate.

    The sad thing is most of the moderate candidates out there don’t inspire me; we need RADICAL moderates who are willing to abandon the status quo, raise holy hell and demand fundamental reforms in our political and financial systems… reforms that would swing America away from plutocracy and back toward real representative democracy.

    At this point I think only a third party will accomplish that feat. I see it as a centrist party with a populist (but not mob) mentality… a Main Street party that would encompass all the good people marginalized by the rabid partisans within their traditional parties.

    The challenge (and it’s a huge one) would be to unite all the dozens of moderate and independent activist groups out there so we could become a national force. Right now every moderate and independent with an ax to grind wants to be the chieftain of his own little patch of earth. That’s understandable, up to a point. But those egos will eventually have to surrender a little status and control for the greater good of the country. I’d love to see it happen, and I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen.

    • Jim Winer permalink
      October 30, 2011 12:36 am

      Actually, a boycott will work just fine. The point is that it doesn’t matter which of the hacks gets elected. It doesn’t matter if we die by fire or by ice, we’re still dead. So if there’s no alternative, boycott the polls and make sure everybody knows it’s because the choices are not relevant to solving the problem, but only to who gets the choice part of the corpse.

      • AMAC permalink
        December 6, 2011 1:02 am

        Voter participation is already pretty low. I don’t see how a continued decrease would help. It would help put power in fewer hands. I would say that is a bad idea.

    • Gail Wiesner permalink
      November 2, 2012 12:21 pm

      It is not enough to be “against” the satus quo. A party has to have a platform and one or more figureheads to present it to the public. Moderates have a very poor record of agreeing on issues and having a willingness to compromise their views in order to have a cohesive organization. Ditto on having enough “fire” to get out there and work for what they believe in, much less donate money to a party. Although both Republicans and Democrats are growing increasingly radical, they do stick together to a great degree in order to have at least some of their individual concerns met by hteir candidates. Further withdrawal from the process is exactly the opposite of what is needed.

  14. Jim Winer permalink
    December 6, 2011 10:16 am

    So where is the new party? If the Demons and Repulsives are all the choice I have, I will be out in the streets with Occupy and 99% and not at the polls. The politicians don’t seem to recognize that a revolution is in progress and will only get more aggressive the longer it goes on. There’s a new paradigm (overused word) and the world has shifted because of the cell phone and social networks. Nothing will ever be the same again except the politicians greed for power.

    Where are the new political parties?

  15. Richard Doherty permalink
    January 19, 2013 12:30 pm

    Rick, Thank you for your great work in setting up and maintaining this site. I am interested in working towards helping a moderate party get off the ground. I would like to connect with the NH group you mentioned (CenterMovement.org), or any other aspiring groups for that matter, to see how I can help. The centermovement.org website does not appear to be active – can you help me contact them? Thanks

    • January 19, 2013 1:19 pm

      Richard: CenterMovement.org has morphed into the Clean Government Alliance. They’re no longer a centrist organization, and they have no interest in founding a centrist party. Like No Labels, they enlist both liberals and conservatives, but they have a more focused threefold mission: to impose term limits on representatives, eliminate gerrymandering and purge elections of big-lobby influence. Still a worthy organization, but probably not what you had in mind.

      There are already some fledgling centrist parties out there, but they’re small and provincial… it’ll take more than The New Moderate to create a moderate movement in the current political climate. Moderates tend to be apathetic (you might notice that most of the commenters on my site are libertarians, not moderates), and the few moderate “activists” out there would rather head their own groups than unite under an umbrella group. (They want to be chiefs, not Indians.)

      Am I discouraged? A little. I really think a moderate party would help temper the extremism that’s raging through our republic… but organizing it would be like the proverbial challenge of herding cats. Keep the faith, though, and stay in touch.

  16. May 30, 2013 7:15 pm

    Ever hear of the Americans Elect internet primary?
    If you have some good moderates it might be a good place to start.

  17. Dan permalink
    September 12, 2013 10:06 am

    Do we have a demographic profile of the members of The New Moderate?

  18. Nolan J Harkness permalink
    August 16, 2014 2:41 pm

    I have written something that has captured the attention and heart of all who read it. It is so moderate that neither side will publish it. Ive been told it is a Manifesto type poem. It started over a long season of my heart being broken over the disunity of our Country.
    I left my house one morning to notice the wind had ripped in half my American flag bannered over my front porch.
    I quickly tied it in a fold over knot and as I sat back in my car I noticed a profound photo op of the flag.
    I grabbed my camera and captured the shot. Later that day almost faster than I could write them down the words came to the writing of “The Knot and the Tear”
    I have had the photo and the piece copywrited. Do you know of a National or regional publication That might publish it?
    Thanks for any help;
    Nolan J Harkness

  19. Don Allen permalink
    October 8, 2014 3:34 pm

    So, you start here. We need one person to Organize the national “American Moderate Party.” The slogan would be “Get AMPed!” Then we need only 52 immediate volunteers, one in each state, who are given guidelines on how to start an American Moderate Party and get it registered in each and every state. All other volunteers join one of the existing state party committees. Then we have the beginning of a National movement using the same name in each state. The only party platform we start with is the promotion of Moderate political positions that represent the largest political demographic in America, Moderates. We can further define that platform later. We activate a website for the national American Moderate Party and each state coordinator starts a website in their state linked to the national website. We link to every website promoting Moderate viewpoints and ask them to hook up their supporters to join the national movement. Then we start advertising for volunteers and supporters. Then we asked the biggest moderate leaning Independent, Democrat, and Republican leaders to join us. There is you game plan. So who volunteers to be Top Dog. I volunteer to start the organization in California. Don Allen

  20. Bryan permalink
    November 6, 2014 11:48 pm

    I am sorry if this is the wrong section to ask this. I found this website with a google search, “are there any moderate political forums on the internet”

    I filled in my info “below” (email/name etc)….am I a member yet, or is there something more I must do?

    Thanks in advance,
    Bryan

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