Will 2018 be the return of political centrism?
However, party loyalty has become akin to the loyalty of sports teams - supporting the rival team will not help win the game. The rival team or party is seen as the enemy that will try to block every attempt the home team - or majority party - has at scoring a point - or passing legislation. Each election cycle, Republicans and Democrats view each other less and less as teammates striving to pass legislation that is best for constituents and more like enemies whose politics and morals contradict each other too much to make working together to find solutions to prominent issues around the country, state or municipality.
Centrists used to run the show in both parties. Democratic presidents received and considered input from Republican colleagues in the House and Senate, and vise versa. This would never be the case today. Extremists on both the right and left carry the most influence regarding legislation at the national and even local levels. Locally, Kshama Savant leads the Socialist charge on the Seattle City Council, maintaining Seattle's reputation as a "leftist bubble." Nationally, it is hard to avoid the presence of far-right activists and White House influence, seen most blatantly with Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon's former position as the White House Chief Strategist.
Constant bickering and conflict will never inspire productive legislation or social change that will help move the country forward. Toxic partisanship does not have a good track record so far of bringing people together to better the United States, individual states, counties or cities. So, how do we fix this increasingly divisive problem?
Seattle Times political reporter Jim Brunner authored an article today describing the efforts of former Washington State Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance and former Democratic Congressman Brian Baird, who created a new political action committee called Washington Independents. Washington Independents is dedicated to supporting candidates of any party who have centrist views and show the potential to bring voters of both the right and left together.
Vance told the Seattle Times, “The American people are hungry for an alternative to the status quo, to the dysfunction and the gridlock in the two political parties."
Baird and Vance describe candidates supported by Washington Independent as “fiscally conservative, pro free enterprise, socially tolerant, environmentally responsible.” Baird added there will be no specific litmus test for candidates... but there will be not litmus test for candidates."
Washington Independents consists of 12 current and former state policymakers who are fed up with the animosity that the Republican and Democratic Party show for one another. Though the group is small and is certain to face an uphill battle against highly funded strong Democrat and Republican candidates in 2018, Washington's primary system could help an independent or moderate candidate get elected in a small or less partisan district next year.
Read Brunner's full article here.