By Kent R. Kroeger (Source: NuQum.com; August 5, 2022)
I get this question all the time: If you don’t love the Democrats or the Republicans, do you consider yourself a centrist, undecided, independent or moderate?
Not only is the answer, no, but I couldn’t be further from the ‘centrist,’ ‘undecided,’ ‘independent’ or ‘moderate’ labels.
I respect bold ideas and policies: Medicare for All. The end of our forever wars. Cancelling student debt. Aggressive policies to end our reliance on fossil fuels. A pro-nuclear energy policy. Ending the carried interest loophole. Less government. Lower taxes. A simple, flat national consumption tax.
Those are hardly centrist, undecided, independent or moderate positions. I’m all over the ideological map.
“Anybody who claims to have the winning formula for winning moderate, independent or undecided voters is making things up. Perhaps more centrist policies will appeal to some voters in each of these categories — but so will more extreme policies.
Moderate, independent and undecided voters are not the same, and none of these groups are reliably centrist. They are ideologically diverse, so there is no simple policy solution that will appeal to all of them.”
Drutman’s conclusions make me wonder why we are stuck with only two major political parties when, by his estimate, 44 percent of vote eligible Americans in 2020 fell into this ‘murky’ middle.
Do we not deserve at least one third party option? No, says our political elites.
The primary reason for our lack of multiple political parties is that our electoral system (i.e., ‘first-past-the-post’) forces us towards just two viable parties — and our media and political elites reinforce that pressure.
But, of course, nothing in our constitution says this has to be the way it is. Political and economic elites dictated to us that this is what we have to accept.
As I was forcefully told by Teresa Vilmain, a high-ranking campaign operative on Tom Harkin’s 1984 Iowa Senatorial campaign, during my paid stint as a door-to-door fundraiser on that campaign, “We are a two-party system. Don’t let people tell you they aren’t committed to the Democrats or Republicans. They are no other choices.”
That sums up our political system, but Vilmain’s dictum never represented my attachment to the two major parties. Iowans deserved choices other than Tom Harkin or Roger Jepsen (the GOP incumbent) in 1984’s Iowa Senate race.
Fast forward to the present, nothing has changed for the better in our political system since 1984— in fact, things have gotten worse — so forgive me if I could care less if the Republicans or Democrats control the Congress after the 2022 midterm elections. The average American is screwed no matter which party wins.
If only an ideologically transcendent political leader could arise in my lifetime. But, don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath.
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