The Democratic Party debates the value of being moderate or centrist versus liberal or progressive and which faction of their party should dominate.
The national Republicans don’t even appear to have what people refer to as a moderate or centrist wing anymore.
More voters are self identifying as Independent and moderate or centrist. They feel neither of the major parties fairly represents their desire of how government should be run. They may agree with one party’s policies more than the other, but they are dissatisfied with the parties, their leaders, the powerful factions within those parties and their style of campaigning and governing.
Independent moderate voters who are more highly engaged and informed are practical and understand that unless we change our election system, only Republican and Democratic candidates are viable winners. Voting for a third party or independent candidate does make a statement, however they usually vote strategically which means either a Democrat or Republican.
How can independent moderate voters achieve more satisfaction and even influence the outcome of elections or nominations?
First, lets understand who the higher information independent moderate voters are. Independent is easy. Moderate/Centrist is not.
Independent voters are less likely to accept at face value the catechisms of either the Democratic or Republican platform. They try their best to be informed by facts. They may very well be fiscally conservative, but they can see for themselves the limitations of tax cuts as the magic elixir for every economic problem. They may be economically liberal, but believe that religious freedom extends further than the progressive left allows. I’m not saying there are voters within the Democratic and Republican parties that don’t take that same approach. But this is a consistent trait among virtually all independent voters.
What is meant by Moderate/Centrist? If an Independent moderate/Centrist can be identified as consistently further to the left or right of center than is generally understood, then why do people call them moderates? I have found that it’s more about process than policy.
For most of us that others identify as moderate or centrist, being moderate doesn’t mean we don’t have policy preferences that may be more consistently progressive or conservative. It means that we are willing and able to make strategic, principled compromise on policies as long as those compromises don’t injure our core beliefs. While an independent moderate will continue to hold for instance progressive ideals, they feel fine expressing a more centrist position on some issues as long as it makes strategic sense, doesn’t violate their core principles and is part of their larger personal platform. They may not even prefer a moderate position but are willing to support it as a small part of a larger platform in order to achieve wider agreement.
Basically, it’s the way we hope our elected officials govern.
The challenge for independent moderate voters is that many feel the need to be lone wolf voters. Refusing to belong to any party. They prefer to act independently, establishing their personal Overton window for what a principled compromise may be on an issue by issue basis. That voter however ends up with little power. Not because they aren’t correct on that one policy or strategy, but because they’re one vote. No candidate running an election can afford the time and effort needed to win over one vote by making principled compromises with them. Doing a facebook ad attacking an opponent reaps hundreds more votes with much less effort.
So there’s the conundrum. Absent an election reform that allows multiple parties to thrive, what can informed fact based independent voters who are willing to make principled compromise do in order to elect candidate that also are willing to make informed and principled compromise for the good of all? The answer is, join or create a party that creates a platform by engaging it’s members widely to adopt fact based reasonable principled compromise – and effective – policies.
In essence. they need to accept that joining that party and accepting it’s process and voting for it’s nominees is itself a form of reasoned principled compromise.