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Thu Dec 5, 2019, 08:53 PM

Polarized America Still Has a Big Middle - Galston's WSJ Editorial

(snip)

Asked to place themselves on a right-to-left spectrum, 43% of respondents opted for the center, compared with 34% for the right and 23% for the left. Overall, there’s a basis for saying that the U.S. is a centrist country that leans modestly to the right. This fact coexists with a significantly polarized party system. Sixty-five percent of Republicans identify with the right, 27% with the center, and only 8% with the left. By contrast, 42% of Democrats identify with the left, and the same share with the center. One major party has a dominant ideology while the other is divided down the middle, a straightforward explanation for the shape of the current contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

This leaves independents, who are anything but an ideological grab bag. Fully 60% identify with the center, compared with 22% who claim the right and 17% the left. This helps explain why states such as New Hampshire, whose primaries are open to independents as well as party stalwarts, tend to produce distinctive and often unpredictable results.

The electorate’s broad centrism influences how it thinks about specific issues. Pluralities reject the stark choice between a large, activist government and a small, limited one. They believe that there’s a legitimate role for government in allocating capital, providing health care for those who can’t afford it, and combating climate change. The same is true for social issues. Pluralities reject the extremes of abortion on demand and a total ban on the practice, and similarly for extreme positions on gun ownership. They favor balancing the rights of religious and secular people, and they seek a middle way between a libertarian approach to social media and heavy-handed regulation of its content.

On some issues, however, rather than a dominant center, we find a national consensus across partisan and ideological lines. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans, 80% of Democrats and 67% of independents believe that government should “do more” to provide health care and a secure retirement for elderly Americans, a political reality that Donald Trump understands but Paul Ryan did not. The odds are that when these programs face their long-predicted financial crunch, politicians will have to focus on funding rather than cutting benefits. Similarly, the First Amendment stands out as a core tenet of America’s secular faith. More than 60% of Republicans, Democrats and independents believe that the right to free speech is nearly absolute, except when a speaker advocates violence.

(snip)

The public also tilts toward multilateralism as the best way of accomplishing foreign-policy goals. Strong pluralities want to manage nuclear proliferation and climate change through international agreements. By a margin of 46% to 26%, Americans believe that international institutions such as the United Nations and World Trade Organization do more good than harm... Perhaps Donald Trump and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party are right that the country needs radical, even disruptive change. But the New Center survey is the latest research to show that the American people do not want it. Instead, they yearn for common-sense reform that builds on the center of our politics and society. The party that offers it will be positioned to earn a governing majority.


https://www.wsj.com/articles/polarized-america-still-has-a-big-middle-11575417229 (paid subscription)

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Reply Polarized America Still Has a Big Middle - Galston's WSJ Editorial (Original post)
question everything Dec 5 OP
SterlingPound Dec 6 #1
murielm99 Dec 6 #2
lagomorph777 Dec 6 #3
murielm99 Dec 6 #4
lagomorph777 Dec 6 #5
murielm99 Dec 6 #6

Response to question everything (Original post)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 12:28 AM

1. The reason this just doesnt pass the smell test is

where are the 85 % of elected moderate representatives?

All the moderates were voted out decades ago!

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Response to SterlingPound (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 03:45 AM

2. Most of the new Democrats

who were recently elected are moderates. Very few are part of the "far left." Our Revolution and those types of organizations have backed losing candidates in nearly all cases.

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 10:35 AM

3. So the RePutins are winning, shifting everybody to the right?

Notwithstanding the huge bipartisan support for some key issues such as higher taxes for billionaires?

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 10:40 AM

4. Who says that is a sign they are winning?

I am very pleased with the new Congress people we have.

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Response to murielm99 (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 10:44 AM

5. Shifting both parties to the right is a win for the right.

And a defeat for justice.

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 10:50 AM

6. The new people in Congress are working well with

the leadership and passing bills. It is too bad the Senate is not considering those bills and getting things done. We need to change that. They are working with Pelosi on the impeachment.

The few lefties elected are running around the globe, shooting off their mouths instead of getting to work. I'll take the moderates any day.

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