American politics is broken, with the far left and far right making it increasingly impossible to govern. This will not change until a viable center emerges that can create an agenda that appeals to the vast majority of the American people.
This is the mission of The New Center, which aims to establish the ideas and the community to create a viable political center in today’s America.
Despite being smaller in number, the fringes drive the national conversation and pressure both parties to embrace policy agendas dictated by ideology and identity politics rather than common sense.
However, the extremes do not speak for most Americans. In October 2019, the Harvard/Harris poll asked Americans whether they wanted to vote for a presidential candidate who was “more to the right, more in the center or more to the left.” 61% chose the center.
But right now, there is neither a centrist policy agenda nor a critical mass of political leaders that they can rally around. This is what The New Center aims to change – by articulating an optimistic, compelling, and commonsense vision for solving America’s toughest challenges.
Most Americans aren’t dead center on every issue, and they aren’t just seeking lowest common denominator compromises between the national Democratic and Republican Parties. Instead, they want leaders who can reconcile the cleavages that are really dividing Americans. These divides often aren’t about specific policies as much as they are questions about fundamental values, government’s role in our lives, and America’s place in the world. For example, should America’s government:
- Prioritize secular or religious rights?
- Be large and activist, or small and limited?
- Focus more on challenges at home or those abroad?
- Prioritize the interests of communities or individuals?
- Embrace a socialist or capitalist economic system?
If you understand this, you can begin to understand the kinds of policies that are both workable and appealing to a broad swath of the American people. You can start to see the shape of commonsense solutions to reform immigration, enhance gun safety, expand access to good health care, protect the environment, reduce the burden of our national debt, and maintain the rights of free speech.
In America, rapid change can happen when a large enough share of our population feels it is not being served by our political system. We are in such a moment.
The extremes are trying to exploit this moment of frustration and disillusionment to ram through agendas that are anathema to most Americans. The challenge – and it is an urgent one – is for the center to get organized behind a consistent set of values and policies that will enable politicians to win elections and to ultimately govern once they are in office.
It has been done before. It must happen again.
- Climate and Energy
- Health Care
- Social Policy
- Foreign Policy and Defense