Polls say a majority of Americans believe both Republican and Democratic politicians are out of the mainstream. So where is the mainstream? Who represents the mainstream? Are there centrist politicians any longer? Or are “centrists” just soft liberals in disguise and therefore represent very little? It’s a podcast from 30,000 feet. Give a listen.

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  1. FredGoodhue Coolidge

    I’ve encountered Democrats who say they are socially liberal and economically conservative. They want lots of spending, and lots of taxes to cover the spending. They don’t want to borrow money.

    • #1
    • August 3, 2018, at 1:06 AM PDT
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  2. Henry Racette Contributor

    This program began with a discussion of survey results that indicate that Americans are about evenly divided on the matter of which party is more unrepresentative of the mainstream of American political views. That’s fine, as far as it goes — but it doesn’t go very far. In particular, trying to decide what actually constitutes the center (the mean, the median, the mode, whatever) of political thought in America using that survey as a springboard is, I think, ridiculous.

    Consider: America’s primary opinion-shaping industries — news, entertainment, academia, major social media, and celebrity punditry — all tilt conspicuously left. Even tepid conservative policies and candidates are routinely met with apocalyptic hyperbole, hyperbole which goes largely unchecked by those opinion-shaping elites. In the meantime, a Democratic party that has, at least at the top, become dramatically radicalized in the last few years, is rarely (ever?) met with similar hyperbole from the opinion-shaping classes.

    Given that, what should we make of the fact that as many people think Republicans are “outside of the mainstream” as think that of Democrats? Isn’t it obvious? If the ideological playing field were anything close to level, the party identified with conservatism would be seen, correctly, as much closer to “normal” American values.

    The survey results matter, because public perception drives electoral outcomes. But I think it’s worth noting that there is an approved political leaning in American and a demonized one, and that, in spite of that, people remain almost evenly divided.

    America is conservative… but persuadable. The center is still well to the right of the opinion-shaping classes. And that means that those of us who speak out in favor of conservatism have a kind of leverage, an outsized influence, in that we express a suppressed perspective that is nonetheless congruent to the actual mainstream American view.

    At somewhere around the 26:00 mark, one of you — Noah or Abe, I forget which voice is which — suggested that the reason anti-Trump conservatives are seemingly over-represented in the punditry class is that they tend to be deep and serious thinkers and, therefore, more interesting. That’s one interpretation, though it isn’t mine. (Nor do I think the reason liberals are over-represented in the media and academia is that they tend to be deep and serious thinkers.) I think a strong case can be made for being a never-Trumper. I think a strong case can be made for voting for Trump. My impression is that prominent anti-Trump conservatives seem, in general, unable or unwilling to acknowledge this. I’m unimpressed by anyone who can’t articulate a strong case for both positions and admit that each has merit.

    • #2
    • August 3, 2018, at 6:29 PM PDT
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  3. Samuel LeDoux Coolidge

    A larger issue for centrism the lack of any sort of organization. Unlike more ideological groups, there is no moderate or centrist youth groups, no clubs, or any sort of place to meet or discuss. No coalitions being formed and no political organizing. This is a major contributing factor to the parties becoming more extreme. The bases are beginning to mirror their activists. 

    • #3
    • August 4, 2018, at 3:10 AM PDT
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