Centrist Vs Independent

College of Political Knowledge

Subject:  Political Theory

As the 2012 election starts up we hear a lot in the media about the independents……we are told that most Americans are this and then we are told that most Americans are centrists, either center right or center left….but from a purely political analyst point of view, I do not buy into this concept.  I believe that people call themselves centrists because it is easier than doing the research to pick a position and stick with it.  By the media’s definition if you are a strong supporter of….say abortion but also one of Medicare (examples only) then you would be a centrist or an independent….being equated as one in the same.  This is erroneous, at least in my mind…..it is just the mass media trying to drive the conversation by defining people in their terms, not in reality.

Let us go to the definition……a centrist, classically defined, as…..a political philosophy of avoiding the extremes of left and right by taking a moderate position or course of action….it can be said more complexly, but the simple definition works just as well…….

And then there is what the media is fixating on….independents, which means…….an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do not feel that any major party addresses. Other independent candidates are associated with a political party and may be former members of it, but choose not to stand under its label. A third category of independents are those who may belong to or support a political party but believe they should not formally represent it and thus be subject to its policies.

The last line in above definition is basically what the media wants us to believe is the definition of an independent…….basically a person who votes on issues and not party nor personality….I do not think that is so…..while people may answer the endless and continuous polls in an independent way, when it comes down to the actual act of voting then party or personality will once again be the deciding factor….I am NOT saying that everyone that claims to be an independent is lying, just that reality says they are NOT true independents.

Let us return to centrist….this is where many Americans are on the political spectrum….either center right or left……..personally, I think it is that they are concerned with the extremes of the left and right….so they opt out of the ideology in favor of a more moderate view of the issues…..the problem is that the people/voter may be of the moderate wing, the people they elect are NOT!  Ergo……partisan politics where little is accomplished and government grinds to a stop.

Look at the American system…….if we are truly a centrist nation then that could explain the total lack of cooperation that is now prevalent in Washington…..PRINCIPLES!  The lack of concrete principles is a death shot to the head of federalism…….one can possess principles without being an ideologue and we cannot have an effective government without debate and compromise…….

I say if you want to change things in Washington then let ALL the ideologues have their way and once the country is totally screwed then we can set about change things for the better and we Americans can have our country back from the abyss that we are slowly being sucked into……

21 thoughts on “Centrist Vs Independent

  1. I don’t think the majority of people in this country know who or what they are. I know plenty of people who say “I’m not so interested in politics. I find all of it completely boring. I guess I’m an independent.” *groan*

    1. Welcome back Angie…..I agree most people call themselves independent so they can say they voted for the winner……I also agree with you about people and interest and that is the biggest problem we have and the reason for the screwed up government….

  2. For once I agree entirely with what the media is saying about centrists (as you describe it). The label may of course be misleading, but THIS is what I keep on about – endlessly…

    It is the most important point of all! I do NOT agree that a person should “pick a party” and then stick with it! THAT is ideology and it is the very worst thing one can do. It is both why representative democracy is an utter failure AND why it is still in existence at all. It’s NOT about political principles or integrity – not as far as the parties are concerned at least – those are irelevant – it’s about PERSONAL integrity that one is being forced to abandon by the system! The system is the servant of the people, NOT the other way round!

    We are NOT talking about the minor, frilly bits on the fringes. I would be prepared to bet that the VAST MAJORITY of voters AGREE with at least one major stance of the GOP and also at least one major issue supported by the Democrats, even if not with their proposed solutions to the problems involved. Conversely, that means they agree with perhaps one major issue of a party and yet disagree with almost everything else about them.

    Your example is a very good one (though there are, as you point out, many others) and THAT is THE KEY to understanding the problem – a voter MUST support all sorts of crap he or she does NOT agree with in order to select the ONE major issue he/she DOES agree with.

    Almost all systems of representative democracy that currently exist, particularly any version of what you have in the US, are TOTALLY UNdemocratic. What you have at the moment is RUBBISH and, in my opinion, it needs to change radically if you are to progress from the current elitist led downward spiral on which you appear to have embarked!

    1. PS: Sorry I meant to say (and forgot – duh!) – good post! I think the centrist label stems from people’s erroneous belief that they can somehow change the parties’ ideologies. What you need to do is find a way to SCRAP the parties altogether, or VASTLY reduce thier power and significance.

      Like I said – good post!

      1. THanx appreciate it and glad you liked it………agreed on the parties thing…..they have created big government as well as big business has contributed…..

    2. Morning Quin….I agree with the party thing…..but I also think that if you think that government owes something to the people then stick to it…….do not cave just top get something passed…….and there is my point….one issue….we cannot run a government on one issue and we cannot vote on one isuue or the government will be as screwed up as it is now….I am , as you know, with you…Radical change is needed NOW!

      1. Yes – exactly. That’s pretty much what I was trying to say. Centrist probably IS a bad label, but I understand what they mean. However, I do still think that the only way forward is if people can perhaps almost select what they DO and what they DON’T accept of a party’s manifesto at election time…

        As an example: Any party (or candidate) will put forward a list of what it (he/she) intends to attempt to do if elected – that’s normal in the UK and I presume it’s similar in the US. A voter might think that the GOP would run the country better in general respects (maybe law an order and the economy), but they could specifically DE-SELECT individual items in that list of “things we’ll do”. For instance, the GOP would have to include “tax cuts for the rich” (or words to that effect in their manifesto, along with reduce medicare (or repeal Obama-care, as they like to call it). The voter could vote FOR the GOP candidate, but specifically AGAINST those two items. Any candidate who got a majority, but then tried to do something which the voters were AGAINST, would automatically find him/her self impeached… or something like that… 😆

        Whaddaya think?

      2. I like the referendum idea……….we give the twats a set amount of time to do what they promise and if nothing gets done, like now with the new Repubs in the House, then we recall them and start over…..and this would apply to ALL elected officials….but I do not know if the de-select thing would work here……would make an interesting post though……

      3. Yes, it would be interesting. Of course, it’s more difficult in the US than in the UK because you have this strange system that elects a president separately – often of the opposite party you elect to govern – how the hell does THAT work? Oh, my bad. Sorry. I forgot – it doesn’t, does it? 😆

        However, election time is a perfect time for people to be more specific about what they want and YES, ALL should be held responsible!

      4. Quin, it has worked in the past and worked fairly well….but in the last couple of decades that system is sliding into the pit of awfulness……the problem we have ….we seldom get specifics anymore…..we get lame slogan and bumper sticker issues….

      5. Well, that’s where the UK differs. Generally, we get platitudes that are held up to ridicule and then they are followed by specifics that are equally ridiculed and so on, but we do tend to get to some kind of truth before the actual election – IF people want to see it!

      6. Quin, you are fortunate….here we get crapo and even worse crap once they are elected……just look at the situation in the US….we are teetering on destruction and the politicians are to blame…….

    1. Thanx hansi……I try to take complex political issues and explain them so many more people can understand….maybe with better understanding , better decisions can be made…..

  3. Angie, I don’t think you understand what it means to be a Centrist. Centrists aren’t people who don’t decide on issues or lacks principle. Most declared centrists have either been on both sides of the party system and/or have a better understanding of party politics than most people. I have been on both sides of the party line on every issue. The problem is that neither party has the best answers to fix the nation’s problems. They both have great ideas, but tend to be on the extreme side. A centrist will look at an issue taking into consideration the solutions already offered, study the issue on their own, and come to a conclusion based on understanding. Centrists want what’s best for the country, not for their party. Liberals and Conservatives are playing a game of who’s right and who’s wrong, a game of finger pointing when things go wrong, and credit stealing when things go right.

    You claim that centrists are just too lazy to do the research and stick with a position. Quite the opposite. A centrists will study the issue and comes to a conclusion that works best for the good of the nation. They can and often do slightly change their position if new evidence calls for it.

    1. Thanx for the visit……sorry but if any of that were a majority position we would have better elections and a much better country….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.