Stuck in the Middle With You: The Plight of the Political Moderate

September 14, 2018

Stuck in the Middle With You: The Plight of the Political Moderate

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September 14, 2018

Over the last 20 years, American politics have reached apparent historic levels of polarization and partisanship, at least for the modern era. Today, this polarization feels more personal and intractable than in recent memory. Insults abound with blame and scorn for those perceived to have contributed to this environment. The Republican Party has received its share of denigration from, what has come as a surprise to many within their own party, Republican officials criticizing the direction their party is headed under President Trump. Former R.N.C. Chairman Michael Steele has described the G.O.P. as "virtually unidentifiable" from the organization that he led less than a decade ago.

The Pew Research Center has been studying American’s public political values since 1994, and the gap between Democrats and Republicans is now wider than it has ever been before. Carroll Doherty, the director of political research at Pew, explains how we arrived at the current acrimony in national politics.

Former Tennessee Congressman John Tanner helped found the Blue Dog Democrats in 1995 after his party's major loss to Republicans that swept the G.O.P. to power in the House of Representatives for the first time since 1952. Does the Democratic Party of today have room for "Blue Dogs" anymore? Tanner offers his perspective.

As the midterm elections approach, former political actors of all stripes are lamenting the loss of bipartisan cooperation they endured in the politics of yore. Bruce Reed, former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, Helen Milby, founder and board chair of the progressive organization The New Deal, and John Murray, who served as deputy chief of staff to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, consider whether the aisle can still be cross in 2018.

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