Today is the first official day of fall, inviting thoughts of changing leaves, cooler temps and beloved holidays for many of Halloween and Thanksgiving. This day (September 23) is also known as the autumnal equinox, when, as the National Weather Service puts it, “the Earth's axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun.” This results in daytime light and nighttime darkness of almost exactly the same number of hours.
This momentary balance between day and night—this lack of extremes—has gotten me thinking about the notion of political moderation. From today’s perspective, for example, it’s almost hard to believe there once was a Republican president like Dwight D. Eisenhower, who took office after two decades of Democratic presidents and—rather than turn back the clock and overthrow the New Deal—increased the minimum wage, expanded Social Security, launched the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and oversaw the massive, federally-funded interstate highway system. Eisenhower, the fabled WWII Army general who had seen firsthand the deadly consequences of fascism and extremism, said that his goal was to take the country “down the middle of the road between the unfettered power of concentrated wealth…and the unbridled power of statism or partisan interests.”
A 2022 Gallup survey found that 37 percent of Americans describe themselves as moderate, a number that has largely remained consistent since the 1990s, although lower than the 1992 high of 43 percent. That same poll shows the number of self-described liberals has steadily risen over the last three decades from 17 percent to 25 percent. Interestingly, a 2014 Pew Research poll of states found that Hawaii had the highest number of moderates (42 percent) and Tennessee had the lowest number (27 percent). Alabama and Louisiana topped the list with the most conservatives (50 percent) and among the smallest numbers of moderates, while Massachusetts and the District of Columbia were at the top for liberals (both at 36 percent).
I don’t think I need to rehash here the intense polarization of the Trump years or the rising extremism of the Republican party, including an anti-democratic, anti-government aggression that has reached new heights. It’s created a political environment that has increasingly pushed people to take sides, left and right.
But has this reality led you to rethink and reset where you stand on the political spectrum? Put another way, has the idea of being a centrist come to mean a refusal to take sides in an increasingly polarized society? In short, have you become less politically moderate? If so, why?
As always, I look forward to reading your comments and the opportunity for us all to learn from each other. Please do be respectful in your comments. It’s important that this community is a safe place to share your thoughts.
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*Photo by Justin Paget via Getty Images.
The only reason we Democrats look less "moderate" is that the Republican Party has fully embraced a fascist ideology & through gerrymandering, voter suppression & repression of personal rights are doing everything they can to hold power-by any means necessary ( See Jan 6th Insurrection) We will not cede them our Democracy & if that means I'm less moderate? So be it!
Yes! I always thought I was a pretty conservative person in general. However, even though I have voted Democratic for 99% of my voting life, I am now more politically active, more liberal, and far more vocal. I am sick at heart with the Trump cult, press, and wish to point a fire hose on Congress to wash them all away-even the good ones-and start over. Since I can’t, I will continue to act and vote to save our democracy from fascists. Thank you for your good writing and the opportunity to respond.
More or less moderate? No. I’m still about the same if your definition of moderate is someone wavering in the middle of the left - right spectrum. What I am definitely not, is asleep. I am far more politically aware and much less apathetic than I’ve ever been, and more engaged. This country is in for a reckoning. That much is clear. Which way the wind will blow is still unknown. It’s best we all be prepared.
I think that I am a moderate in some aspects and still very much "progressive" in others. I actually dislike all of the political labeling. My guess is that if we discuss politics long enough, you may find that there is at least one issue that I take a conservative position on!
It is strange to me that the US sees the Democrats as "far left." Living in the Czech Republic, we have a very different understanding of what is meant by "communism" and "socialism." I dislike the word "entitlements" which the US has adopted to make it sound like people don't have a right to something they paid for. When the right says you cannot expect to get health care for free (socialism), I always wonder where that is! I pay a good amount every month for my health care in taxes - although still less than my retired parents pay in New York for theirs....
If I am against book banning, does that make me less centrist and a communist? If I am against the culture wars and the hate they generate, does that make me less centrist and a communist? The spectrum has moved to the far right and I refuse to move with it. I am what I am, but will not stand by and do nothing in the face of the new fascism. The fascists can call me what they want. They are the problem. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
I'm far less "moderate" than when I was younger. In fact, in those days I got snookered into voting for St. Ronald -- twice! But ever since Clinton and the clown show that was his impeachment (over a damn blow job, no less!) I've gotten further and further left. The old me wouldn't recognize myself! I strongly believe in freedom for all, freedom for women to choose their own medical health, freedom from hearing nothing but lies from today's "moderates", etc. etc. etc. I can honestly say without reservation that I'll never vote for another Republican for the rest of my life, no matter how good they sound or how much they claim to be non-MAGAts. You just can't trust 'em!
I previously registered as Independent. Following the threatening swerve to the right by many Republicans I now register Democrat and also contribute to more Democratic candidates.
Pretty sure I stopped being a moderate on January 6th, and it hasn't gotten better watching the GOP capitulate fully to Trump since.
There is nowhere to stand in the center of a democratic system that isn't anchored to reality on both sides.
Honestly, I have never been moderate! Left of center. Seeing today’s climate collapse just makes me more radical. ☺️ The revolutionary changes we needed to begin seriously implementing 50 years ago when the writing on the wall showed up have been usurped by the dark side of capitalism: greed (and maybe plunder, especially of habitat, ecosystems and other-than-human life: just look into the environmental AND carbon producing massive mining globally to meet battery demand…is this really a “green solution”?). People in “other places”, often poor and far away from our mostly comfortable lives here, are already dying. But the world is one and we needed to change our consumptive, me-first societal tune long ago.
Hard to know what the term ‘conservative’ means anymore. Factually, it describes much of the Democratic Party’s platform: heeding constitutional and ethical norms, responsible governance. But the Republican Party uses its historical association with the word as cover for extremism. That party no longer respects law enforcement, nor the military, except when it’s used to move their own partisan agenda forward. It breaks norms and flaunts it (looking at you Clarence Thomas). So defining terms is essential to your question.
I previously described myself as to the left of moderate but to the right of AOC, in other words progressive. In the past year I think I’ve moved a little closer to progressive. In part because of the extreme radicalization of the right. I’m more inclined to argue for democracy than before. Too much is at stake.
I still consider myself a moderate, in the sense that I’m willing to consider ideas from people across the political spectrum. I find however, that there are far fewer sensible ideas emanating from the right these days than from the left. I like to think that I haven’t changed, or at least I haven’t changed dramatically, but that the right has -- and not for the better.
We are much less "politically moderate" and passionately more pro-Democracy and pro-Constitution in a natural response to educating ourselves with people like you, Heather Cox Richardson, Joyce Vance, Robert Hubbell, and others for the past few years. Despite the frequent discomfort, fear and triggering from the political drama, we are grateful to be here now — eyes opened.
Thanks, Steven, for this thoughtful piece. I think I have always been, and remain a moderate liberal. However, what has changed is my perception of the Republican party. Before, they were the party I disagreed with on most, but not all, things, but never feared what they would do if they got into power. That has really changed with Trump and the metastasis of Trumpism (DeSantis, Greene, Gaetz, Boebert, Cruz, etc). Now I really believe that our democracy depends on (1) winning elections in the short run and (2) in the long run, finding a way to cure the nation of Trumpism, if possible, so that we are not perpetually one losing election away from losing our democracy. You can't win every election and so if we cannot change the Republican party away from its current path, it is a matter of "when", not "if", our democracy will be fall prey to the MAGA movement. I hope I am wrong about these fears
I have not changed from my progressive views, the extreme move to the right of GOP shifted the center maybe. I am vehemently opposed to authoritarian fascist coups, continued attempts to dismantle democracy and those who would brand those just differing opinions. Both sides journalism (hello oxymoron) has done as much damage as active insurrectionists. It seems the division is becoming more clearly between those who are willing to set fire to the country and those who are increasingly fed up with a few uper rich hoarding more wealth than 70% of the rest of us. I'm on the side of those losing their rights, always have been.
I have held the same values since college. The political spectrum surrounding us has shifted far to the "right" so that I would now be considered much further left. In FACT, I haven't changed. The right wing message machine and its propaganda has done much damage.
I grew up a conservative in late 50's early 60's West Virginia. I defenestrated myself from Conservative Philosophy based on my personal observations over time, of the unilateral hate campain of Conservatives. Their resolve to drive to a single autocratic regime in America, where every single liberal or progressive policy and idea was made a targeted enemy.
This of course, started with the insidisiouly brilliant, racist even anti-semitic William F. Buckley. Eisenhower was a great Republican. The kind that allowed for compromise, supported some liberal ideas, saw the Federal government as central to a strong, productive America. Roads, Defense, civil rights.
But his appointment of Earl Warren, got the closet Nazis, Fascists, racists up in arms. The confederates remained at war.
You must know the good writings of Heather Cox Richardson, who creates superb historically correct narrativies of America.
The question now is this -- Given the exestential nuclear war threat Trump poses (see Goldberg's Atlantic article on Gen Mark Milley), ---
Why, until Trump, Trumpism, and all Trump supporters are completely and utterly buried politically ---
Would there be even one single justification to --- be a moderate ? There is no compromise with Trumpism. It's Grant time. Unconditional Surrender of the autorcratic Right wing Trump.
Given the state of the Republican Party (and their complete buy-in on whatever trump demands), I now consider myself a Raging Moderate. There is no way either myself or my friends will cede our democracy to these conspiracy, lying lunatics. Every decent Republican has left the party and are finally en masse (well all three of them) and are making it clear what a "present and clear danger" the @GOP has become.
I think I’ve just become less likely to listen to those who are considered “conservative” or “Republican” now. There is no humanitarian value with that current party since so thoroughly taken over by MAGA. I’m so tired of flags waving off an F-150 and the knowledge he is carrying an assault rifle driving down our AZ highways. Such a cliche! If it isn’t kind or thinking of the whole (of humanity) I tune out. Has a lot to do with self-preservation. So, I guess I’ve swung a little more left (more humane and empathetic, in my view) in recent years… but with a measure of taking time for self-care. Probably sounds “soft” to a current day “conservative.” Lol! I’m just not seeing too much “gray area” anymore, even though I’ve always had a habit of reading between the lines or seeing the nuance in any given situation.
Yes, because I want to push back against all the lies and irrational thinking of many elected officials.
Oh, to complete my thought. I was a lifelong Republican. I am now registered as an Independent and vote only Democrat and contribute only to Democrats.
I have no idea what it means to be a centrist these days. For a long time I associated those terms with being able to find value in ideas that were conservative and liberal or progressive; compromising and moving forward. Differences and areas of agreement were based on core principles. These days what claims the label “conservative” is closer to reactionary; not interested in compromise and the core principle seems to be naked power. Everyone not on board is labeled as radicals and leftists.
Where is the space left for moderates or centrists? What is left for them to advocate?
Ban only a few hundred books; a centrist method for selecting who may be discriminated against and targeted with hate; defund a few government agencies; moderate ways to disenfranchise voters; why child poverty is good for the soul of America or going slower on climate change initiatives?
Although I have always thought of myself as a moderate, I do not equate that with in anyway agreeing with what the Republican party is doing. They have become a party trying to prevent free and fair elections. It is impossible to trust a party trying to restrict voting rights. Trump has normalized lying as political discourse and Republican politicians have embraced it. I no longer trust anything they say without verifying it as fact. Whatever problems people have with Biden, I hope they will not let perfect become the enemy of good. My greatest wish is that Democrats will unite and join in the effort to keep our democracy.
I was a moderate, probably left leaning due to my social and human rights views. However the whole political scale has been pushed so far to the right any moderates standing still would now be considered bleeding heart liberals, even if their political views have not changed.
I do consider myself a centrist but one who always votes straight Democrat. We no longer reside in the days when a politician can think freely for him/herself, but are obliged to toe their party’s line. As such, folks now must align to a party over a particular candidate. Unfortunately, this is a big reason our government is so dysfunctional now. In the past, people generally ran for office to serve. I’m not sure that exists anywhere in today’s Republican Party. I still do believe the Democrats have an interest in service. Now all they need to do is get a whole lot better communicating that they are the party of *all* the people (with obvious exceptions here like Menendez, who I read today should switch parties so he could freely collect more indictments).
I am less not more centrist because the extremism of the republican party. At one time campaigned for Senator Goldwater but now believe that the GOP has sold their soles to Corporate wealth and the wealthy 1%. This is a shameful position that tilts the table away from those citizens trying for a better life for themselves and their families to the wealthy class and corporate wealth. They bought the lies of a stolen election to mount an insurrection. those lies were fed by a propaganda machine of Fox news that is controlled by the extreme wealth to hold on to that wealth and power. The recent strikes tell the tale of corporate wealth holding on to that wealth and power. The auto companies got a bail out and now management is keeping these "profits" not passing the $ on to the workers. So, YES, I am less centrist and farther left because the actions of the right does not bode well for our democracy.
Steve, I don't think you have framed the question in a way for me to describe if I have become more radical. The choice is not longer between democrats or republicans/right or left/conservative or liberal... ask Mitt Romney, David Brooks, and/or George Wills. The choice is between fascism and a law based governance. To frame it as you have is a disservice to what is going on.
I am MUCH more liberal than I was 30 years ago.
Yes. I am a 68-year-old white woman who grew up in the deepest South (and retired there). I have been a liberal since college but was also a financial services lawyer, so I appreciate a stable economic system. I’m also painfully aware of how the rich get richer. Anyway, both my H and I (also from the Deep South) are approaching “Burn it all down” territory. While we wouldn’t go that far in reality--I find the extreme left naive and unrealistic--we both have moved leftward as we aged.
I have become slightly less moderate because I was never all that moderate to begin with. I passed out flyers for Gene McCarthy in 68, campaigned for McGovern in 72 and thought Clinton and Obama were corporate shills. First two year Biden implementing Bernie's agenda gave me hope. But now all I really care about is crushing the MAGAs and their Republican and billionaire enablers once and for all.
“Have you become less politically moderate?”
My wife thinks I’ve become a flaming liberal, but mostly because of my hatred for the policies/lies of the last two GOP presidents and the state of their party now.
Yet, I think the pronoun debate is idiotic, from “they” for an individual to Latinx. The transsexual focus and knee jerk reflex is an inane diversion for the 98.5% of the population. The liberal push for two or three free meals at school is over stepping the role of government, and unfair to teachers who often end up as waiters and custodians to fulfill the mandates.
I was a registered Republican until 2016, then I realized the party wasn’t coming back. Moderates and ex-GOP are an uneasy coalition within the Democratic Party, but at least this party wants to govern.
I’ve gotten more moderate as I’ve gotten older. For example, I don’t believe in seeing all inequities in America through the lens of racism. I see more flaws in government regulation.
But the Republican party has gone completely off the rails in the last 7 years. I grew up watching Firing Line with my father each week, and William Buckley Jr (the conservative who ran the show and founded the National Review) was brilliant and fair minded. So I’ve become an advocate within the Democratic party - which I think of as the “sane people party” - for the party being a big tent that includes everyone from Never-Trumper conservatives to socialists.
I don’t agree with everything Biden does, and don’t expect anyone does, but he is sane and practical, he is able to get lots of new law through a dysfunctional Congress, he understands international relations - he is someone I am willing to trust with the innumerable decisions that cross the President’s desk. I see him as an old fashioned moderate Democrat - and that is the perfect candidate for a big tent sane people’s party.
Once upon a time, I was a right-leaning independent. I evaluated candidates every election, but most of the time I believed the Republican to be more moderate. I was even a passionate supporter of a moderate 3rd party - in the early days of the 2016 election, I planned on voting for Gary Johnson to "send a message."
Then, horror of horrors, Trump was nominated. And he could come close to winning! This prompted my first awakening: when insanity is on the ballot, there is no third way - we must be all be all-in for the only option with a chance to beat it!
The 2020 pandemic shut down provided my second awakening. Over 60 with health issues, I spent the pandemic shutdown (and more) insulated in my home to avoid exposure. I looked out my privileged window, and saw the "essential workers" risking their lives to deliver me the food and goods I needed to stay protected. These workers, without health insurance, making minimum wage, allowed me to stay safe. What's wrong with this picture? You might say, I became "woke". Suddenly, I viscerally understood the push for universal health care, minimum wage reform, and greater income equality.
So, I am no longer moderate. When fascism is on the table, there is no moderate, there is only pro-democracy. Moreover, anyone who works full time should be able to pay rent, buy food and stay healthy. This is not only a moral view, it is also a rational economic view - happy, healthy workers strenghten our economy! (Unless your view of the economy is self-enrichment at someone else's expense)
It’s not my political philosophy that has changed, but rather where I fit on the US political scale. I’m now deemed a libtard by the brainwashed Putinistas.
I don’t think anyone can truly be a “moderate” in our two party system when one party has moved into cult like worship of a dangerous criminal and are more than willing to destroy the country rather than share the country with Democrats.
For several decades now the Republican Party has campaigned on “social issues” that really boil down to identifying targets for hate: Black people, feminists, Latinos, Muslims, migrants, LGBQT people, trans people, liberals in general and then back to Black people (of course). That party is so filled with hate that they literally kidnapped infants from their mothers’ arms and made them orphans because the mothers had the audacity to enter the US. And no one has ever been punished for these crimes against humanity.
The only defining feature of Republicans now is that they hate their fellow Americans enough to try to kill us. Witness Uvalde, Tree of Life synagogue, Buffalo, Jacksonville, etc. To make matters worse, Republican politicians spend inordinate energy to ensure that their followers have more than sufficient amount of firepower to do the job.
Who could truly be a “moderate” when faced with such evil? I don’t know what label to apply to myself, but I believe in teaching unvarnished history. I despise banning and burning books. I respect teachers and educators. I believe everyone (even MAGA bigots) has the right to vote. And I believe that no rational society can long survive when average citizens, even those who are known to be mentally ill or violent, can acquire weapons of war.
I was born in Wyoming, moved to Nebraska, then Iowa, Oregon, Delaware, Washington DC, Florida, and Georgia. Since I can remember, my thoughts have constantly been extremely liberal and looking at my background, should have been conservative or very conservative. Who knows why we think like we do. Is it sensitivity? Empathy? As a very young child my stomach would knot up when thinking about persecuted people being sent to gas chambers (I wasn’t older than 4 or 5). Adults’ treatment of those “different” agonized me to the point of fury! I knew my parents didn’t feel my kind of intensity and I felt I grew up in an All in the Family type environment. Why are people angry by their situations? Why are they influenced by hatred? I’m stumped! Is it about developmental levels? Is it about lack of sensitivity--not being able to put oneself in other shoes? I don’t know; honestly, What’s it All About Alfie???
I haven't changed my basic political views at all. I'm a life-long Democrat. But in 1992 I would have called myself "moderate" and now firmly put myself in the liberal camp. What has changed is the increasing hollowing of the word "moderate."
Once upon a time "moderate" meant believing in bipartisan means of achieving goals beneficial to all Americans. But how can one be "bipartisan" in a world where the Gaetz of Hell can hold up even the most basic aspects of governing, and as far as we can tell even "moderate" Republicans, if they exist, are too scared to stand up to this? If the Problem-Solving Committee actually comes up with something workable, I might believe in a "moderate" Republican. But I won't change my self-description because on so many OTHER issues than the budget those still won't stand up to the culture wars, the oligarchy, the theocracy. If any do, they will earn the term "liberal Republicans." Liberal is the new center.
There is obviously a further left part of the Democrats. But while I agree with Progressive ideals, I can't approve of all progressive methods. I don't want others to force me to act according to their beliefs, nor do I want to force others to accept mine (except in cases of public health emergency where their beliefs add to the crisis at hand or in cases where the beliefs are racist or otherwise discriminatory).
Polls show that many people are now coming round to ideas that once would have been anathema across a wide spectrum, and there seems to be a tipping point where laws actually get changed to reflect those view. Even government assisted health care, AKA Obamacare, has reached wide acceptance. The step to a more universal health care is now in sight--but we aren't quite there. Persuasion is working. More and more objections to that persuasion are coming from gerrymandering and other forms of holding onto outdated power.
What I am against is selfishness, willful ignorance, refusal to love thy neighbor if the neighbor is even slightly Other and taking active steps to make that neighbor a second class citizen. If that is both liberal and "woke" I take on the terms gladly.
No I believe I am still a midwestern Democrat. Moderate in some social ideas, progressive in others, a believer of science. I tend to be fiscally more conservative in believing some programs need to be stopped such as corporate subsidy. Other programs just need to meet benchmarks. I believe in the rule of law and think partisan and racial gerrymandering are abominations. I believe in democracy and hate fascism nazism and white supremacy.
To me, the definition of moderate used to mean collaboration and compromise between liberals and conservatives to support incremental change cautiously. But watered down and over-compromised versions of policy don’t make sense for so many of the massive domestic and global problems we’re facing. Further, I believe the GOPs inaction, obstruction and obsessive concern about “cultural issues” and preserving historically low tax rates for the wealthy and corporations, along with their desire to slash “entitlements” has made many of us much more “progressive or liberal” out of concern that we’re not doing enough on issues that ought to matter to everyone-- climate, gun safety, education, support of a middle class economy, support of small businesses, healthcare, voting rights, immigration, women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ and minority rights, programs to help the working poor and the elderly, playing a leadership role to further peace and democracy around the world, etc. Historically, at least some of these issues would have been addressed in a bipartisan manner but that no longer happens. If this makes me an “extreme” leftist, so be it.
Answer, more centrist. I'm certain.
A coincidence you should ask - The question has been on my mind and I wrote something just this morning on our cultural "addiction" to other-ism. https://substack.com/@dgerhart/note/c-40554592.
I've talked elsewhere about the discipline of centrism... I realize, recovering our democracy is going to take a lot of work.
Great discussion for this moderate , evenly balanced day and night. I can honestly say that my values most definitely align with the view of the liberal members of our government. However, I clearly define myself as a moderate in the best sense of the term. I was a young child during the Eisenhower years, in elementary school, just beginning to get interested in politics. IO thought Eisenhower was fine. He took the great initiatives of a Democrat President and expanded them, because they were GOOD IDEAS. I really liked John McCain. Some of his views were too conservative for me; but in general he stayed toward the middle, in a very good way. Neither extreme is good for this country. Notice how Mitt Romney just recently announced the end of his political career. Moderates on either side of the aisle, especially on the GOP side of the aisle, can't find a place for themselves any longer. Working together, finding common ground and compromise are what will make this country a shining star on the hill again (wasn't that a Reagan quote). The extremist GOP, which was fueled, if not totally begun by Trump, has been bad for this country. In response, there are some democrats who will run far to the left, as a defense mechanism (I was a psychology major). If we could all look at each other and each other's ideas respectfully, and take the good that each political party has to offer, I think our country will be in a better place, people will be happier, and there will be less tension in our country. Moderate is good. It is a positive choice.
The problem for me is that my views have never really changed at all. I AM a moderate in the way that Eisenhower spoke: "down the middle of the road between the unfettered power of concentrated wealth…and the unbridled power of statism or partisan interests."
As wealth has concentrated ever more in a few hands (thank you, Goldwater, Reagan, Nixon, and Trump - to name but a few), the proverbial "center" of US politics has marched ever to the right.
Today, Eisenhower's moderation is flaming, wild-eyed, woke, communist, liberalism - and the power of concentrated wealth is joined with statism and partisan interests that are openly fascist. And abject corruption is gaily flaunted in the Supreme Court.
Not my father's and not Eisenhower's Republican Party. Not any more.
No. After being a Vietnam War protester and then a public servant for much of my adult life I ended up as an FDR New Deal Liberal. That qualifies me to many as a radical socialist today. The country moved right for forty years and I did not.
I'm mostly a labor-centric Democrat, not so focused on identity issues except to the extent that everyone has a right to be happy - and to be left alone. So much of other people's business is none of mine.
It’s impossible for me to be “moderate” anymore. Women, children, veterans, teachers, immigrants, elderly, anyone queer, non-whites, liberals are having make possible plans for the worst as republicans focus on chaos, distraction and the destruction of the country.
I'm still a moderate, for the most part. I don't think it means to be "centrist" or to "refuse to take sides." For me it means gradual change and an avoidance of extreme positions.
To me, you HAVE to oppose fascism and authoritarianism, because THEY are extremes and if they're allowed to take root, there's no politics anymore anyway. Certainly there's no moderate politics. You HAVE to oppose the criminality of Trump and his enablers, and you HAVE to oppose the thuggery of the current Republican Party - which (as Mitt Romney just pointed out) doesn't believe in the Constitution or any kind of rational norms. THEY are the extremes I oppose. Democrats are much more moderate than Republicans; Democrats are not engaging in domestic terrorism or violence.
As long as this is the case, I oppose the GOP implacably.
I have been a liberal for my whole adult life. My positions have held relatively stable over time (as I just entered my 8th decade): the belief that government can and should advocate for all citizens, not just the wealthy and corporations, and should strive for the highest in ethical behavior. Those positions have seemed more extreme as conservative ideology has moved farther to the right since Goldwater entered the GOP mainstream.
I’ve never used liberal or conservative to describe my politics, but I’m definitely pro-Democracy and more pro-Democrat than ever because the ugliness of Trump and his Republican cult have disgusted me too long. I believe the Constitution is being used by Republicans to justify deceit, racism, and outright violence.
IMO things changed drastically in 2008. A Black man was elected president and the country freaked out. And social media, Facebook and Twitter, became ingrained as influencers. Before 2008, I could easily work with members of both parties. After 2008, the republicans I knew had no problem showing their racism. Social media began to erode moderate views. By 2015, social media’s standards had eroded and Trumpism took over. And now in 2023, the visceral hate has overtaken the country. I often wonder how different our country would be if Hillary had been elected? Would those who choose to stain our country been less likely to have oozed out of the shadows? Or were we as a country already defined by 2016? Was that the catalyst which left no room for opposing or moderate views? As a last year boomer, I previously viewed the world through multiple lenses, having seen a variety of politicians shape the 70s, 80s, and 90s. I could concede in areas my son cannot. But now, as rights have been taken, war is waged on those in the LGBTQIA+ community, I find myself going all the way left because there is zero chance I’m going to find moderation. The GOP and culture wars have seen to that. And I’m frustrated and sad. My options are now limited as our country heads straight toward fascism and autocracy.
I don’t know anyone in my circle friends who is politically moderate at this point. 99% of the people I know and interact with are Democrats or independents and absolutely none of them are Trumpers ZERO-000!
Still moderate in terms of policy preferences. Not moderate in my view of the modern American right wing. I don’t see the right as a balancing force and fellow traveler in the broader American experiment in liberal democracy. I see them as authoritarian opposition that must resisted on all fronts.