Now more than ever, being a political moderate is extremely challenging for those who do not agree wholeheartedly with either of the two major political parties’ ideologies.
The polarizing nature of the most recent presidential nomination campaign, presidential election, and subsequent activity by Donald Trump’s administration have pitted friends and family alike against each other, forcing people to choose a side. While the Republican/Democrat rivalry has existed for well over a century, tensions between supporters of the two sides have rarely been so intense during the last 30 years, even including the Monica Lewinsky scandal during Bill Clinton’s tenure as president.
So What Is A Political Moderate?
The definition that comes up on Google is “In politics and religion, a moderate is an individual who is not extreme, partisan, nor radical. In recent years, the term political moderates has gained traction as a buzzword. The existence of the ideal moderate is disputed because of a lack of a moderate political ideology.”
Essentially, a true political moderate is someone who does not hold to a party line, who may disagree with aspects of the GOP while supporting other agendas. The moderate may agree with portions of the Democratic party’s purposes while opposing others.
Why Is It Hard To Be A Political Moderate?
As most of us are well aware, the intensity of the recent election and the actions of the current Trump administration have raised tensions on virtually all major matters to unseen heights. Social media users unfriend people for their political views now more than ever. Twitter, that bastion of Trump interaction, buzzes constantly, with more and more bans coming every day due to the vehemence of people on both sides of issues.
The concept of us versus them, Red or Blue, and that only one side is correct are all partly at fault for the challenges political moderates face. If I, who has many conservative Republican family members, were to say something in support of Obamacare, I would likely receive backlash from those comments. On the other hand, were I to come out on social media in support of Donald Trump’s immigration freeze, I would likely have many of my liberal friends comment angrily or unfriend me.
As such, political moderates who voice opinions tend to lose out either way. The current political climate is decidedly unfriendly towards anyone who has not picked a side in the ongoing debates. Even criticizing a clear blunder by one party or another will bring the wrath of half of America down on a someone’s head.
The Presidential Election Highlighted The Challenges of Political Moderates
Regardless of who one voted for, the presidential election demonstrated a major ideological flaw both parties fell prey to. Neither of the major parties’ candidates could be considered moderate by most reasonable definitions of the word. Trump was brash, outspoken, and highly controversial on his stances, which were almost caricatures of stereotypical Republican platforms. Hillary Clinton was viewed by many as an example of Washington insider corruption thanks to the Benghazi, pay for play, and email server scandals.
Both of these candidates were extreme representations of their parties, and political moderates had to choose between the lesser of two evils, not the better of two great leaders. While at House and Senate levels many more moderate choices can be found, even there, the ideological divide between Red and Blue only seems to be growing wider and more intense.
A two party system, where one is left-wing and the other right, never works out very well for those whose ideologies may be more centrist than either of the major parties represent. As such, the current political climate makes it challenging for political moderates to be effectively heard.
So what are your thoughts on the current situation for political moderates? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images]