A colleague of mine recently offered up a suggestion that could transform modern American politics.
We were standing in the middle of a bar at the time, so you’ll want to make allowances for that. Anyway, here goes.
We all know the GOP establishment is mortified at how close Donald Trump is dragging them to the tinfoil-hat fringe of the hard right. And we all know that social activists on the left think Hillary Clinton and other establishment Democrats aren’t doing things much differently than establishment Republicans.
So my colleague – real estate development writer Ely Portillo – asked this question: What if the moderates in the middle of the Democrat and Republican parties just up and said goodbye to both the hard left and the hard right?
What if moderate Republicans and Democrats created their own party? Let the Trumpites and Tea Partiers have the old Republican Party. Let the Bernie Sanders crowd and Occupy campers and the collegiate revolutionaries have the old Democrat Party.
Think about it. Moderates arguably have more in common with each other than they do with ideologues in their respective parties. Moderate Democrats and Republicans share an interest in safe, incremental social change, protecting business and the economy, a strong defense and pragmatism in foreign affairs. They want the trains to run on time and the stock market to rise while everybody more or less gets along.
That’s why establishment Democrats get nervous when confronted with the disruptive protest tactics of Black Lives Matter activists. And why establishment GOPers grind their teeth at night over rebellious Freedom Caucus backbenchers and the angry band of Trump-lovers who seem determined to burn the party to the ground.
The only thing left to decide is what to call this new group. The Moderate Party? Sounds kind of boring. The Centrist Party? Sounds like a new bank, but that could work. How about the Main Street Party?
Whatever you’d call it, the idea has merit – if only in the abstract. It would obviously get extremely messy in the real world, where the two major parties have long dominated ballots nationwide.
But at least voters would have clarity. No Republicans tacking right in the primaries and Democrats tacking left, only to both pivot and race to the middle for the general election. This always leaves many of us wondering which positions the candidate really believes and which they only touted for political expediency.
This way, everyone can be who they really are, no fakery necessary (or less fakery, anyway). Voters would have a more clear-cut decision.
What do you think? Worth a shot? --Eric Frazier