Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

No Labels Missed Its Chance to Be a Bold New Independent Voice

The No Labels platform is cold pablum. It just takes what the Democrats want on each issue, what the Republicans want on the issue, adds them up, and divides by two. This is mealy-mouth centrism at its worst. It's been tried and doesn't work. Matt Bai has a very different suggestion: Don't average each platform to the mushy middle, but take bold steps that make sense, some from the Democrats and some from the Republicans. For example, propose that the Second Amendment applies only to well-regulated militias (which is what the Constitution actually says), making the Democrats happy. But also propose greatly reducing government spending by means testing all government programs (which makes Republicans happy). Or, they could support fighting climate change (which is a threat to the planet and would make Democrats happy) while also supporting free speech, even if it made some people feel bad and maybe even cry (which would make Republicans happy). We point out that good libraries have a balanced collection of books, many of which take strong and different positions. They don't stock only individual books that are balanced.

Bai's point is that an independent movement that wants to rejuvenate democracy can't do it by seeking the mushy middle and avoiding new ideas. It can be centrist and bold at the same time, by taking key ideas from left and right. Donald Trump didn't take over the Republican Party by averaging out the ideas of Jeb! and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). He struck out in a completely new direction and Republican voters ate it up. An independent movement could do that as well. This could even be a blueprint for a party that could replace the Republican Party when Trump has exited stage right. After all, things change in politics. In Abraham Lincoln's time, the Republicans were a left-wing anti-slavery party, while the Democrats were the conservatives. Before the GOP came along, the Whigs tried to play both sides of the street for several years. It didn't work so well for them. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates