What Happens To The Centrists?

Posted by | September 20, 2010 11:12 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

A plausible scenario for the Senate in 2011: Lisa Murkowski and Charlie Crist join Joe Lieberman as Senators without political affiliation (Bernie Sanders is an independent as well, but a reliable Democratic vote).  Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Ben Nelson, and maybe Scott Brown become sufficiently disaffected with their party leadership that we have 6-7 Senators holding the balance of power in their centrist hands.  Meanwhile Michael Bloomberg is pouring his fortune into support for moderate candidates:

New York’s billionaire mayor, whose flurry of activity is stirring a new round of speculation about his presidential ambitions, is supporting Republicans, Democrats and independents who he says are not bound by rigid ideology and are capable of compromise, qualities he says he fears have become alarmingly rare in American politics.

Is this a movement?  I’d like to think so because I think a third party would be a good thing for democracy.  However, third parties really don’t come from the center.  In early 20th century England, it was the Labour Party that emerged to the left of the Liberal party and broke the Liberal/Tory monopoly on politics.  My guess is that the moderates eventually end up with either the Dems or the GOP.  If it happens to be the GOP (right now the less likely scenario), then perhaps we will see a third party come up on the right to absorb the Tea Partiers who will not be happy with their moderate partners.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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