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Adios, Friends: The New Moderate Ends Its 15-Year Run on a Hopeful Note

July 29, 2022

I suppose this day was as inevitable as death, taxes and computer malfunctions. After fifteen years of outspokenly moderate musings that seem to have had zero influence (or less) on our dismally divided national politics, I’ve finally decided to retire The New Moderate as an active monthly blog. 

Why? It wasn’t the lack of recognition, or the fact that I was pouring hours of work into the project without generating a cent of income, or even the failure of my site to spark anything resembling a much-needed moderate movement. No, in the end it was yet another technical glitch that forced me to put my pet blog to sleep.

Here’s what happened. Several years ago WordPress suddenly started asking for my password, even though it never demanded one in the past. After trying every password I had ever used in the online universe, I gave up and attempted to change it. You’d think it would be a simple enough matter to change a password, but WordPress needed my current e-mail address to verify my identity. Turns out it had my defunct e-mail address on file, and I couldn’t update it because – you guessed it – I didn’t know my password! 

Nearly foiled by this diabolical Catch-22, I eventually discovered that the WordPress app on my rarely used iPad Mini didn’t ask for my password. It still recognized me! But as I quickly found out, it’s a royal pain to type a thousand-word column on a cramped virtual keyboard. 

What to do? I devised a clever plan: I’d type my column on my computer and e-mail it to my iPad. From there I’d copy the column and paste it into the waiting template on WordPress. Done! I used this circuitous route for roughly three years, even weathering a phase during which search engines decimated my traffic by declaring the site “unstable” — whatever that means in computerese. Neverthless, I persisted — until I discovered, just this past month, that my iPad Mini was no longer accepting new e-mails! 

That was the end. The universe was obviously telling me to hang it up and find another pet project. Well, fifteen years isn’t a bad lifespan for a dog or a blog, and we’ve had plenty of good times along the way. No need to weep for me.

Granted, I never launched that moderate movement or achieved the exalted status of public pundit, but I can retire with the knowledge that I spoke my mind month after month and said things that needed to be said. (After all, I didn’t have to worry about being fired, threatened by armed insurrectionists or forced to attend a “diversity, equity and inclusion” brainwashing course.) 

As a Baby Boomer born precisely at the midpoint of the 20th century, I’m aware that my productive years are passing quickly. I’d like to get another book or two into print while my mind is still reasonably robust, and I’ll be content to leave the political punditry to the younger folks with an appetite for constant bickering. I’ll still be observing the American  scene, but I won’t feel obligated to share my opinions with the world (or at least the few hundred followers I had amassed during the past fifteen years). Of course, if any bloviating bully on the MAGA right or woke left goes overboard, I’ll be tempted to fire a salvo in their direction. You should, too. 

Coincidence… Or intelligent design? The very day I sat down to write my final column, hunting and pecking on my iPad’s virtual keyboard, former Democrat and political gadfly Andrew Yang announced the formation of a major third (and centrist) party, via the merger of his own Forward Party with the Renew America Movement and the Serve America Movement. The new party would preserve the name of Yang’s organization (would members be known as Forwardists?). They’d launch a “national building tour” this fall and plan to hold their first convention next summer with the hope of getting national candidates onto the ballot in nearly every state by 2024. 

Yang and former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican environmentalist (apparently not an oxymoron) who defected from the GOP, will co-chair the new party. Along with David Jolly, another ex-Republican, they wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed that “political extremism is ripping our nation apart, and the two major parties have failed to remedy the crisis.” They added this cogent point: “Today’s outdated parties have failed by catering to the fringes. As a result, most Americans feel they aren’t represented.”

In an interview with CNN, Yang noted that “62% of Americans now want a third party, a record high.” Whitman added that “the majority of Americans actually agree on… divisive issues of the day like abortion or firearms — there’s actually a common sense coalition position on these issues and just about every other issue under the sun.” 

That’s pretty much what I’ve been shouting from my rooftop for the past fifteen years, so I’m pleased that someone with a louder voice will be doing the shouting now. Of course, we also need to remember that no new party has entrenched itself permanently as a force in US politics since the Republicans burst onto the scene in 1854. That’s a long dry spell, and it’s time we had a bold new player in the game. 

Any party committed to combatting polarization in our politics and culture has my vote. Let’s hope it can generate another hundred million votes from America’s mostly silent moderate majority. Farewell, good luck, and stay centered!

*    *.   *    * .  * 

Note: Although I won’t be writing new columns for The New Moderate, the site will remain up and running. I’ll occasionally be updating features like our Hall of Fame and Hit List. I might even write a few new three-way arguments in the Issues section. And I probably won’t be able to resist updating The New Moderate’s Vigilance List each year. 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of dark-humored ( but oddly comforting) essays are available on Amazon and wherever else e-books are sold — for the absurdly low price of $2.98 each. That’s less than a cappuccino at Starbucks, and these e-books are even more stimulating.

All material in The New Moderate is copyright 2007-2022 by Rick Bayan. Feel free to quote from this site as long as you credit Mr. Bayan as the author.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul Gallanda permalink
    July 30, 2022 1:45 pm

    Rick, I’d like to think that Andrew and Christine stumbled upon a recent issue and said, “Hey! Let’s do this!”…

    Thanks for all the good reads. I’ll miss the monthly (more or less) sliver of sanity.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      July 30, 2022 11:23 pm

      Good to hear from you, old friend — and I’m glad you’ve still been a reader. I was actually wondering if a few politicians or pundits might give me a tip of the hat after reading The New Moderate in silence all these years, but your comment is just as satisfying.

  2. Savannah Jo0rdan permalink
    July 30, 2022 2:35 pm

    Hopefully, you will find another platform from which to write your columns. I agree that WordPress is very, very frustrating. I am not as enthusiastic as you about this third party. They have not specified their particular policies and, as you know, third parties have had a fleeting existence in American politics. Thanks for your many columns. They gave me the sense that rationality is not dead and I believe they had a greater impact than anyone realizes.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      July 30, 2022 11:29 pm

      Thanks, Savannah. I’ve always appreciated your clear-headed views here. Yeah, WordPress gave me all kinds of grief, but on the whole it was a good home for The New Moderate. I’m too tired of political squabbling to keep writing commentary on events (so the final technical glitch was well timed), but I’m sure I’ll keep writing in one form or another. See you on Facebook!

    • Milton Freidman permalink
      August 9, 2022 2:52 pm

      There have been several third parties. The last truly successful third party was the Republican Party.

      Libbertarians have been trying to put a dent in politics for 5 deades and rarely get more than a few percent of the vote – despite often excellent candidates.

      If you are expecting any sucessful move to a third party – you will be disappointed.

      • Rick Bayan permalink
        August 10, 2022 11:45 am

        Dave: I know that no third party has successfully established itself since the Republicans entered the political scene in the 1850s. Of course, I’m hopeful about the new Forward party, even though I’m not betting any money on it. I think their chances are better than most third parties, especially if they can take advantage of the widespread dissatisfaction with both the Republicans and Democrats by the more moderate members of both parties.

        By the way, I actually liked Gary Johnson and his running mate when I saw them interviewed back in (I think) 2012. I think they deserved to win more than 1% of the vote.

      • dhlii permalink
        August 19, 2022 2:03 am

        No one can stop you from hoping.

        But the odds in favor are infinitesimal.

        The only US political party with a shot at ever being consequential is the libertarian party and that is a long shot.

        The most likely political changes we will see are within the parties.

        These happen all the time. The current GOP is radically different than the GOP even 2 decades ago, and Democrats have changed as radically.

        On innumerable issues Republicans are what democrats used to be and democrats what republicans used to be.

        It is far easier to change the GOP or Democrats than to start a new party.

  3. Priscilla permalink
    July 31, 2022 9:45 am

    It’s the end of an era, that’s for sure. We will all miss your fair, insightful columns, Rick. Those of us “regulars” wll miss having a safe space to argue over them! (Speaking of that, it’s been a long time since Roby has weighed in ~ if you’re out there, my friend, I hope all is well. You’ve been very influential on my thinking, as have Ron, Dave,Savannah, and others.)

    It has occured to me that, had I not had Rick or the rest of the TNM crew to debate with, I would still have a somewhat limited, less balanced (to the extent that it is balanced!), and more one-sided view of the world of politics. It’s not as if any of us changed our core beliefs, but I think that all of us, at one time or another, came around to understanding the legitimacy of arguments that perhaps didn’t fit our pre-existing biases.

    But, it’s time to move on. To say that “times have changed” would be an understatement. I look forward to Rick’s next project, and. whether or not it involves the social and political universe, I am confident it will be worth my attention.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      July 31, 2022 10:40 pm

      Thanks, Priscilla. You’ve been here from the start, and I’ve always valued your intelligent input even when we didn’t agree (which actually wasn’t all that often). As you said, we might not have changed our core beliefs, but maybe we’ve come to respect a variety of viewpoints (except for those on the far left and far right, of course).

      My current project is literally an odd bird — the far-fetched tale of Jeremy Dodo, the last of his species, an articulate fowl who finds his way to England in the early 18th century and becomes a minor celebrity until he runs afoul of the establishment. It’s written entirely in archaic English, purportedly by one of his loyal friends, and is presented as a factual biography — although of course it’s all a bit surrealistic.

      I had started this story in my 30s and left it half-finished — because who on earth would buy a story about an English-speaking dodo, written in 18th-century style prose? (I feel the same way today, but the old bird called out to me and I couldn’t leave him in limbo.)

  4. Roby permalink
    August 2, 2022 1:01 pm

    Hi Rick and everyone,

    Thank you Rick for all your good moderate energy and intentions. We all have profited from your efforts and talents. The much wider circle of silent readers and subscribers tells the real story of your impact. Those of us verbose regulars who talked out heads off over the years were just the tip of the iceberg.

    Thanks for asking Priscilla, things are fine with me and mine, my wife’s niece is now living with us, from Ukraine by way of Poland by way of United for Ukraine, which is credited to Joe Biden in the news. I now have a two Ukrainian power gardening team on my property. Borscht by the gallon. I hope all is well with everyone here.

    I have not commented lately because all I care about is Russia’s fascist dictator and fascist invasion. Nothing else is much on my mind. Blathering on and on about politics seems fruitless to me, I try to keep my own world on an even keel and appreciate the good things. There is only so much I can say here about Putin’s war and enthronement as tsar, history was moving very fast in February and March, the pace has slowed sown and it will take years now to know how this comes out. Russia is full of good people and good things, but its social pattern is some form of police state with a tsar and his corrupt retinue. That is probably their future, forever. They will always need to be contained, like a disease. A disease with 4000 nuclear warheads that they can’t use without being exterminated themselves. It will be the most eventful question in the world in the next years whether things will turn out so utterly bad for them that they are forced to change the nature of their fascist shithole of a motherland.

    So, that is what is on my mind and I cannot predict, and no one can predict the future.

    Vast impersonal amoral forces shape the future and it only ever will seem to be a logical story decades after it happens. Looking at history it seems to make sense, the story seems to have a direction and a plot. Looking at the future is totally different, it’s unknown.

    Looking at history it seems that things usually move slowly in the direction of an improvement despite all the horrors of conflicts. We may very well survive all the turmoil and our descendents may well live is a world that is livable and enjoyable for most in spite of the bad people and bad events.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      August 5, 2022 12:04 am

      Roby: Thanks for your kind words; I’ve always valued your opinions here. Glad you returned for my valedictory post, which seems to have generated fewer comments than any of my posts to date. (Wow, it’s as if only four people showed up for my funeral.)

      Anyway, I hope I’ve provoked, reassured and entertained all those silent readers over the years. I feel a little more positive about retiring my blog now that a moderate third party has entered the scene.

      I totally understand your current preoccupation with the war and atrocities in Ukraine, and good on you for getting involved as much as you have. I’d still like to see a cabal of Russian insiders remove Putin from office, dead or alive. I doubt if the Russian despot will retreat from his pet project as long as he’s in power. He needs to go.

      • roby permalink
        August 5, 2022 11:08 am

        Rick, the “crew” who have posted our mini (or not so mini) commentaries in response to yours all have I am sure the same fondness for your writing and sadness to see the end of this. Its just that no one is very tuned in and those who have not replied just did not happen to drop in yet. Be sure, its a wistful occasion for all your regulars.

        Putin is not likely do go anywhere soon. The Russian economy is withering, but not at a frantic pace, it will suffer huge losses but over a long period.

        If Russian forces suffer a truly complete defeat then Putin is in danger of being removed eventually. We are talking years most likely for all this to play out.

        Its incredibly Important that the Ukraine invasion be a catastrophic loss to Russia. I cannot predict whether it will be that or how it will all play out. I am sure it has done tremendous harm to Russia in the long run, but the west must remain united and determined for decades if that is what it takes to prevail. We did prevail once over the USSR and the way we will prevail again will likely be similar. We prosper while they face ever larger problems and we outspend them and force them to cripple their already unimpressive economy trying to keep up with us in defense spending.

        Good luck with your Books!

      • dhlii permalink
        August 19, 2022 2:13 am

        Russia has done a fantastic job of propping up its economy but the means it has used are unsustainable – though it will take many months to fail.

        The most damaging news for Russia is that Europe has announced it will reduce its consumption of Russian energy by 15% by winter – that would be devastating to Russia.

        Low estimates for Russian casualties so far are higher than the US casualties for the entire Vietnam war. Unfortunately Ukraines are similar.

        Regardless,. Ukraine has little choice but endure – Russia does not.
        Further though Russia has a larger military – it also has more committments

        Russia is probably capable of producing the weapons to continue this war – but without access to the west, those weapons will be increasing “dumb” weapons.

        The longer this continues the better trained Ukrainians will be and the more sophisticated the western weapons they will be provided.

        Joe Biden will fight Russia down to the very last Ukrainian.

        Purportedly US weapons have allowed Ukraine to sever supply lines to about 2%K russian troops north of the Nyper river.

        That is a very dangerous situation for Russia if true – and it appears to be.

  5. Roby permalink
    August 25, 2022 8:55 pm

    Hey Ron, are you out there? I hope you are well. Strange not to see you here.

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