“The Moderate Middle Is a Myth.” The argument made by a FiveThirtyEight opinion piece contends that American voters who identify themselves as moderate, independent, and centrist form a “murky middle” that is so ideologically diverse that “there is no simple policy solution that will appeal to all of them.”
That’s right. Nothing will appeal to every single person in the American center, but that’s an awfully high standard.
The truth is that a strong current of mainstream thought does flow through much of the U.S. and most Americans.
Is that center ill-defined and just plain fuzzy? Sure. But it exists and the great majority of Americans live in that ideological space.
Some of those in the moderate middle are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Others are the opposite. Some believe in a strong defense and robust foreign policy, while others favor isolationism.
Still, most Americans agree on much more than we disagree. We don’t identify with either party, or if we do, don’t hold the extreme views of our party’s base (more on this below).
The essential belief that more unites us than divides us is the starting point for “A View from the Center.” It hopes to be a voice that honestly approaches issues from the mainstream of American thought. Rational, centrist voices are mostly absent from today’s media and we need megaphones for the all-too-silent majority.
Who am I and what do I have to contribute?
I am a longtime journalist and lawyer. You might have seen me on your TVs as a network news anchor and correspondent for ABC, NBC, and Al Jazeera. Or you might have caught me as a local anchor and reporter in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami, for CBS, Fox, Univision, and Telemundo. I have also worked as a columnist, university professor, and online news publisher. I try to forget that I worked at law firms in New York and Caracas.
I have reported from most states and four continents, covering nearly every conceivable news event, and interviewing all kinds of newsmakers: presidents and royalty, athletes and movie stars, criminals and heroes. But I’ve learned most from the hardworking people who strive to realize the American dream.
I am an old-fashioned journalist who has always attempted to be objective and fair.
Have I always succeeded? Of course not. Will I always succeed? No. But I’ll keep trying.
Do I have biases? Certainly, but I do my best to recognize them. One big one: I am Cuban born, so I can’t completely escape the perspective of an immigrant who loves his adopted country.
One bias I don’t have is that, unlike most national journalists, I have spent most of my life outside the media centers of Manhattan’s West Side, D.C.’s Beltway, or Hollywood.
So, what will I write about in “A View from the Center”?
Pretty much anything, but especially U.S. politics, the U.S. political/media divide, American foreign policy, Latin America, popular culture, and sports. Any topic where I might shed some light or that I find interesting.
Who is this for?
Those who believe in American exceptionalism, but don’t ignore America’s faults.
Those who don’t call progressives “communists” or conservatives “fascists.”
Those who are mystified by Americans who clamor for socialism.
Those who reject separating migrant children from their parents and believe immigrants have made America great, but understand the need for a country to protect its borders.
Those who believe politics have no business interfering with science.
Those who want urgent action to protect the environment, but know the initial “Green New Deal” would bankrupt the country.
Those who are painfully aware of the desperate need to address racism and discrimination against minorities but don’t believe in identity politics.
Those who don't call people offended by language as “snowflakes,” but believe political correctness and wokeness are often taken to unacceptable extremes.
Those who reject censorship, even of those we strongly disagree with, unless utterances create a clear and present danger.
Those who don’t believe in American adventurism, but dismiss extreme isolationism.
Those who don’t want the U.S. to be the policeman of the world, but know it must step in to stop evil and prevent genocide.
Those who can’t comprehend the fiscal irresponsibility of Democrats and Republicans who keep running record deficits, indebting our children and grandchildren.
Those who know we must transcend political polarization to strengthen an inclusive notion of American identity.
Who isn’t it for?
QAnon believers who haven’t met a conspiracy theory they don’t love.
Antifa anarchists, who prefer to destroy than improve.
White supremacists, racists, or anyone inclined to discriminate against people because of their different race, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, age, or just about anything else.
Misogynists who inspired the #MeToo movement.
People who believe the COVID-19 pandemic was created by Bill Gates and Tony Fauci and that vaccines are putting microchips in our bodies.
Anyone who even remotely thinks the January 6 attack on the Capitol was justified.
Aren’t you excluding a lot of people?
Actually, no. Recent surveys support the premise that most Americans are part of a broad moderate middle. They don’t believe their country is as sharply divided as the media portrays. They also have no trouble getting along with politically and racially diverse friends, be they conservative Republicans or progressive Democrats.
Gallup’s survey of Americans’ ideological views in 2020 found that one- quarter of Republicans hold moderate or liberal views, while 47% of Democrats say they are moderate or conservative. Add those to the 38% of Americans who Pew Research says identify as Independents and you’ve got a very healthy majority of the country that’s somewhere in center.
That moderate middle isn’t happy with the media or politicians. Another Gallup survey this year found that 62% of U.S. adults say the "parties do such a poor job representing the American people that a third party is needed." That’s an all-time high. Only 33% think the two major political parties are doing an adequate job of representing their constituents.
Americans don’t think the media is doing much better. An Edelman survey in January found only 46% Americans trust traditional media, the lowest level in the decade it’s been measured. Trust in social media has also hit an all-time low of 27%.
Where can I read “A View from the Center”?
You can sign up for a newsletter and receive whatever I write whenever I publish, which will probably be about twice a week. You can always come to this site (https://aviewfromthecenter.bulletin.com/) whenever you’d like. For now, it’s all free.
I hope you enjoy it and that you engage with comments. I will do my best to respond.
Photo credit: U.S. House of Representatives