Shutdown and Shut Out in The ‘New American Center’

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Robert RivardI’ve always had an Independent streak, politically speaking, and never have been completely comfortable with political labels, especially the traditional “liberal vs. conservative” divide.

Like most in the country:

* I’m deeply alienated by the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress and its machinations to shut down the federal government.

* I believe our system of government is failing, and that it is jingoism to watch Washington in action and still claim we are an example to the world.

Last night’s 11th hour surrender by Republicans matters not: The House radicals cost this country billions of dollars, disrupted the lives and livelihoods of millions of families, and made us the laughing stock of a world that once respected the United States and looked to us for global leadership. No one in Washington missed a single rare Scotch on the rocks or suffered so much as a wrinkle in their custom-tailored suits.

Turns out I’m part of what Esquire magazine this month calls “The New American Center.”

If the magazine’s polling data is accurate, so are most of you. Esquire’s editors partnered with NBC News on a poll that serves as the foundation of the cover story. They use 13 measures to define the New American Center. Click here to take the quiz to see if you belong.

www.esquire.com

Typography by Matt Stevens www.esquire.com

Here are the highlights:

1. Half of the people who are in the “New American Center” don’t realize it, and self-identify as liberal or conservative, but their answers to the survey suggest otherwise.

2. The center is predominantly White and a majority do not like diversity programs or affirmative action laws that protect minorities and enable them to gain a better footing, for example, in winning admission to college.

3. Most of us have lost faith in the two-party system and question whether the U.S. Constitution is too dated to address the needs and problems found in modern society. We detest the tone and direction of events in Washington D.C.

4.  We trust the Democratic leadership more than Republicans.

5. We are tired of God and gun rights dominating the public agenda. Keep your faith-based beliefs to yourself. More than a third of us own guns, but we have no problem with background checks, delayed sales, or keeping weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill.

6. We believe government should help every American who needs it.

7. We also believe government should stay out of our private lives. Many in the Center are still coming around to same-sex marriage, and many don’t believe in abortion after the first trimester.

8. We are wary of U.S. intervention in conflicts around the globe and would like to see a reduced U.S. military presence in current conflicts abroad.

9. The government should spend less, go easy on regulations.

10. The wealthy and super-wealthy should pay the same tax rate as the rest of us and not be entitled to special breaks or loopholes. Polluters should be taxed.

11. Those in the NAC want to see a reduction on foreign oil and gas reserves, and support greater domestic drilling activity.

12. Three quarters of us consume alcohol, mostly beer and wine. And we recycle.

13. Our hearts and minds are up for grabs. We move from party to party, depending on the candidate and the issues. Winning us over won’t be easy, especially given current events.

 

Follow Robert Rivard on Twitter @rivardreport or on Facebook.

 

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3 thoughts on “Shutdown and Shut Out in The ‘New American Center’

  1. There are several third parties that exist, however they usually don’t have the resources or public support to make an impact on the two-party system. I met Ralph Nader at the 2008 DNC and assisted as a regional coordinator to increase third party awareness for S. Texas and Upstate New York. The main difference between Texas and New York is that in order to get your name on the ballot (if not in the two-party), you have to obtain an obscene number of registered votes on a petition. Ralph Nader received enough signatures to be allowed on the ballot, yet only as a write-in.

    The mentality that politics is only black and white, or that there’s no other option available, reveals the weakness of public awareness and also an opportunity to strengthen a third party (i.e.; Libertarian, Populist, Green, Independent) so that the nation is not beholden as a hostage to two-party politics.

    Europe is much more advanced in this regard. When meeting people on the street or in college campuses, the vast majority simply were uninformed or misinformed.

  2. Thanks for a great piece, Bob. I was beginning to lose sight of who I am with all the political and social crap that has been assailing us recently. I’m with you in the center!

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