“National reinvention is not a threat to the American tradition. It is the American tradition.”
The New York Times columnist Bill Keller argues moderates are a distinct voting bloc. This is something I’ve been pointing out for some time. While both political parties try to present American politics as a choice between two polar opposites, there is a third way. And that third way is defined by pragmatic moderates.
“The middle is not the home of bland, split-the-difference politics, or a cult that worships bipartisan process for its own sake. Swing voters have views; they are just not views that all come from any one party’s menu. Researchers at Third Way, a Clintonian think tank, have assembled a pretty plausible composite profile of these up-for-grabs voters.
Swing voters tend to be fiscal conservatives, meaning they are profoundly worried about deficits and debt.
They are mostly economic moderates, meaning they are free-marketers but expect government to help provide the physical and intellectual infrastructure that creates opportunity.
They are aspirational — that is, they have nothing against the rich — but they don’t oppose tax increases.
They want the country well protected, but not throwing its weight around in the world.
They tend to be fairly progressive on social issues; they think, for example, that abortion should be discouraged but not prohibited.”
We need to weave these ideas into an intellectual framework (vision, role for government, political brand, narrative, and political agenda) to guide moderates. If we do not define how we differ from the partisan ideologues of both parties then we will never be able to compete with them. We need to define the third way to give voters a specific alternative. Information like this helps us in that process.
Read more on creating the third way: