The new American Center, for example, supports abortion rights but thinks they should be limited to the first trimester. They support gun rights, too, but think expanded backgrounds checks are OK. The Center favors government intervention that ensures everyone has their basic needs met and has a fair shot at earning a decent living. But they’re also tired of what they see as too much government intervention in people’s personal lives.
“For a generation, our trusty labels, liberal and conservative, have been adequate to the task of describing our differences on these and just about any other issue,” the editors write. “Our culture wars have always been fought with the language of politics, but now the language itself is broken, the labels are meaningless, and our normal tools for understanding ourselves are hopelessly outdated.”
The editors contend that “seldom has there been a time in which the extreme partisanship of Washington has been more disconnected from the actual national mood and values.”
One reason: Just like my big family that has a hard time organizing an event where everyone shows up, the American Center lacks the organizing principles to form the critical mass needed to elect centrists to Congress in significant numbers.
Still, the magazine editors conclude that the data shows there are millions of American voters — even a majority — who are passionate about issues, persuadable in their beliefs, and very real in numbers. They are merely waiting for the power brokers in Washington to find them.
— Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org