No Middle Ground?

The partisan nature of our recent political history raises a question as to whether there is any middle ground remaining? Left and a right, Republican and Democrat – only one can win, right?

There is no doubting the fact that one party, one candidate must win and one must lose. The middle ground isn’t necessarily the parties or party lines, but rather the voters. I do not believe the voting public is so clearly polarized as the political party extremes. People are complex. Their needs, thoughts, questions, desires and life experiences vary, often dramatically. It is entirely possible to have someone who believes strongly in abortion, is against drilling in national parks and is open to raising taxes; but is a hawk on military matters, is a fiscal conservative, believes that entitlement programs must be trimmed and the government needs to get out of people’s private lives, and wants to see greater controls on immigration. Truly. So do you exclude these people from your party?

I don’t believe this to be a rhetorical question. I think there is a group of people in that middle ground who believe in a meritocracy, true freedom of speech, and want their children to have a shot at the American dream because they worked hard and earned their way to success – they don’t believe in an entitlement society. How many families have a registered Democrat and a registered Republican? I am sure there in some middle ground happening there.

So here is the opportunity. Some of the folks I mentioned above probably voted for the current President last time around. Without a doubt the positions the Democratic Platform conveyed at their recent convention alienated some of those voters. They missed out on the key issues, and instead drove home conversations about special interests, class warfare and dependency. The current administration’s policies have left some of the voters I mentioned above feeling mislead, disillusioned. Alienated. The Democrats have built a party line that is totally dependent on fear, division and anger. They are close minded and exclusive.

This is an opportunity for the conservatives to capture that middle. I have written previously that every election comes down to choices. We have a choice between a party led by President Obama that wants to keep moving forward on the same path, is delusional about whether we as a country are better off and wants to consolidate and centralize their power and build dependency. The other choice is a party led by Mitt Romney who believes that our country needs a drastic change in direction including fiscal reform, a robust private economy and a democratic process.

democracy's chorus

democracy’s chorus (Photo credit: howard.hall)

So in reality, “the middle ground” is the battleground. That middle ground is full of the people who can and will make a difference in this election. Believing there is no middle ground is a slippery slope. Once you believe that, there is no reason to “reach across the aisle”. There is then no reason to have constructive conversations and plant the seeds of hope and change. Instead, people tend to get lost in the focus on “winning the argument” or getting in the best insult; something we see all too often in the partisan environment today. Every “smackdown” of an undecided voter is a small battle lost. There is plenty of middle ground out there and it is ours to take.

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