The case for/against centrist candidates

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  1. Don W profile image82
    Don Wposted 3 months ago

    For some people who like Biden, one of the reasons is the fact he is a centrist.

    For some people who dislike Biden, one of the reasons is the fact he is a centrist.

    Either way, what's the case for or against centrist candidates on either side? What's the case for or against centrism period?

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      If "centrist" means "moderate", then I see a very good case for them.  There will always be far out ideas, so maintaining a moderate philosophy that will not please everyone but is acceptable to (nearly) everyone is the way to go.  Plus, of course, those ideas from either the far left OR far right are generally not only unacceptable but unworkable in real life.  Bernie's socialist state or the "Green Deal" proposed are such ideas.

    2. Credence2 profile image81
      Credence2posted 3 months agoin reply to this

      That depends on what you are seeking. I did not see the Right in selection of Donald Trump as focusing on moderation or being centrist....

      In these times,  in the search for progressive policies, moderation is no virtue.

      I don't dislike Biden, he is just a poor fit for we on the progressive left that have fundamental problems with the status quo. Minor adjustments to placate the people with just the disposal of Trump is no longer enough.

      Trump's followers are anything but moderate or centrist, as most of them would stick with him no matter what he does. We have to be that adamant on our side if we even hope to win.

      Moderation may well be the way, but it is the wrong time.

    3. Don W profile image82
      Don Wposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      It's a difficult one. I'd prefer a progressive overhaul too. Issues like climate change, and crony capitalism need serious reform, as does health and immigration etc. 

      At the same time, I wonder if meaningful reforms are possible for anyone who isn't a moderate? Seems to me, without a reasonable number of people in Congress agreeing (compromising) nothing can be done, even when people want it to be. Isn't it better to go for a situation where no one gets everything they want, but everyone gets something? Am I oversimplifying it?

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 3 months agoin reply to this

        I certainly don't think so (oversimplifying).  Isn't that the definition of "compromise", after all?

        Seems to me that the far ends of the spectrum - those that aren't "centrist" - are simply unable to compromise on anything, with the result that IF they can accomplish anything at all, when the pendulum swings the other way (and it will!) their work is undone.

      2. Credence2 profile image81
        Credence2posted 3 months agoin reply to this

        The reality is that compromise is no longer in the Congressional toolbox, any compromise is akin to a loss for one side or the other.

        With the great example of partisan cooperation during the Obama Administration, we are left with the reality and lesson that either we go big or go home and can't expect the other side to be open to any Democrat initiatives, moderate or otherwise.

    4. Eastward profile image93
      Eastwardposted 3 months agoin reply to this

      I'm going to agree with you and others here that are in the more progressive reform camp. The United States is the extreme case in terms of healthcare and criminal justice reform when measured against our peers on the international stage. I don't think Biden or the other centrist candidates are prepared to address these issues adequately. Unless we want yellow vests pouring out into the streets, they do need to be addressed. Crony capitalism and the ease at which the wealthy can influence (if not outright dictate) politics is certainly another issue and I would support overturning Citizens United along with other measures to limit campaign spending, lobbying, etc.

  2. PrettyPanther profile image82
    PrettyPantherposted 3 months ago

    I would prefer a progressive overhaul of our financial and environmental regulations, a universal health care plan, and an intelligent foreign policy that uses military action sparingly.

    But, a sane moderate  Democrat would be fine and would be more tolerable to the general populace. Right wingers will be apoplectic no matter which Democrat is in office, so their opinion matters not one iota.

    An ideal outcome, to me, would be an inspiring, courageous moderate Democrat as president (not Biden, maybe Buttigieg) and Democrat control of the House and Senate. We could actually make some progress.

    All that said, I still like Warren.

  3. Live to Learn profile image79
    Live to Learnposted 3 months ago

    Centrists should run for president for either party. Far end ideas are not representative of the general population. If they were they wouldn't be far left or right. Any far end holding national office would be less representative of the people, as a whole.

    Far ends should run at state or local levels where their ideas can be tried and we can see the results as good or bad.

  4. GA Anderson profile image92
    GA Andersonposted 3 months ago

    "An ideal outcome, to me, would be an inspiring, courageous moderate Democrat [or Republican] as president . . ."

    I think any moderate president would do a lot to heal some of the divisions in our politics. As things stand now there is no room for moderation in either party, but I think that--discounting the vocal extremists--a large part of our nation would welcome moderation in both our policies and our politicians.

    If I were to speak for moderates I would say there must be a middle ground between free Medicare for All and healthcare for all. Likewise, there must be a middle ground for the other causes that matter to us.

    Student loans shouldn't be a life-time burden, but neither should higher education be completely free - free has no value to the recipient. I think the same perspective applies to most of the other 'freebies' the Left is offering.

    To Don's OP, I think the moderate America I am speaking for is too busy handling life's responsibilities to mount the barricades demanding specific change. That is what we elect our representatives to do. I suppose that means moderate America needs to become a little more vocal and participatory in what we expect of our elected officials.


    1. Don W profile image82
      Don Wposted 2 months agoin reply to this

      Not much for me to disagree with, although I'm not sure "free" has no value to recipients.

      I honestly can't understand why Democrats are not putting a stake in the centre ground, while also running on a strong platform of meaningful congressional reform. I'm hoping it's because this is the campaign for the nomination, which involves preaching to the choir. Hopefully, in the presidential campaign we'll see some of that. From an ideological perspective, I'd love someone to champion an uncompromisingly progressive agenda, but as a pragmatist, I'd rather win the election.

      1. GA Anderson profile image92
        GA Andersonposted 2 months agoin reply to this

        I have decided that I don't see Moderate and Centrist as synonymous. I have decided, for myself,  Centrist means Middle of the Road, but Moderate could describe either a Left or Right agenda.

        I think we do and have always needed progressive ideas to push us forward as a nation. Just as I think we do and have always needed Conservatives to keep those progressive ideas' feet on the ground.

        So, I don't want a Centrist I want a Moderate. And I think a Moderate can also be a pragmatist and still be a Moderate.

        I know that was a word salad, but maybe you get my point.


        1. Don W profile image82
          Don Wposted 2 months agoin reply to this

          I don't think being c centrist means arguing for five in an argument about whether two plus two equals four or six, but I won't quibble over the words. Kennedy reportedly described himself as an "idealist without illusions". That'll do it for me.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 2 months agoin reply to this

            Sounds like a refusal to compromise, to accept other than your demanded result, because you know what is needed and no other opinions need be heard.  2+2=4 and you know that, so no need to hear from those that think it equals 6. 

            Is that a fair assessment?  Or am I reading too much into a simplistic example - nothing in politics is ever so clear cut or so absolutely true an answer?

            1. Don W profile image82
              Don Wposted 2 months agoin reply to this

              I was suggesting that, for me, centrist/moderate is a distinction without a difference. My analogy was to illustrate the idea that being a centrist doesn't require being middle of the road to a fault. Some ideas are just false/ wrong.

              Some extremist political views are just wrong too, relative to certain shared social values. Centrism doesn't mean having to compromise with every political idea, regardless of that ideas merits.

              For me, it just means the merit (or lack of merit) of a political idea shouldn't isn't determined by which side of the political spectrum it comes from (conservative, liberal etc) but by whether it's likely to improve the situation (based on objective evidence) and whether it's in-keeping with certain shared social values. There are no "conservative" ideas, or "liberal" ideas. Just ideas that work, and ideas that don't.

              I see centrism as the principal opposition to political extremes. Throw in some pragmatism, tempered by common social values, and you have my idea of what politics should be like.

  5. Credence2 profile image81
    Credence2posted 2 months ago

    The center ground is a losing position for this election cycle, in my opinion. Just removing the ugly image which is Donald Trump is not enough.

    It takes a lot of energy to move an incumbent out, an economic debacle is one of those things. What is the source of energy we need to move out Trump, will it be enough? Are we ready?


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