Melding Moderate Beliefs with Progressive Values
The political divide is clearest when examined along the lines of the role (and size) of the federal government. Those who believe the role of government in a democracy should be limited to administering justice, enforcing private property rights, and defending the nation against aggression reside on the right side of the political continuum. Those who believe in using increasingly progressive taxation to fund a federal government that invests in things like education, job creation, equal pay, education, health care, clean energy and a social safety net stand left of center
Moderates are conflicted. When it gets down to specific policy issues, they fall on one side of the continuum on some, and the opposite side of the continuum on others. In truth, pure centrists are a rarity. To be an absolute centrist is to believe that all truth is relative, which is akin to believing there are no universal truths. Take capital punishment, for example. While it’s possible to see both sides of the issue, it’s virtually impossible not to believe either it’s either right or it’s wrong for the state to take a life. Abortion is a similar issue. Some lean left, and some lean right, but nearly all moderates lean
A survey conducted by Gallup found a great deal of uncertainty among Americans about exactly what a “progressive” is. Fewer than half can say whether the term describes their own views. Of the 45-percent of Americans who do describe themselves as progressives, only half separately describe their political views as liberal. A third said they were moderate, and nearly a quarter said they were conservative. These findings point to the need for progressives to find a way to meld moderate and progressive beliefs to capture the votes of those who lean slightly left, or right, of center.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has struggled herself with exactly this issue. After staunchly defending her record championing liberal causes and referring to herself as progressive, she recently confessed that she was, in fact, a moderate progressive. The Clintons, both former President Bill and now Hillary, have long been seen by many as centrist Democrats willing to reach across the aisle to get things done. Bill Clinton did this consistently in the White House, pushing free trade agreements and prioritizing debt reduction.
The Hillary Clinton campaign seems to realize that to win in 2016, they’ll need to build a broad coalition between those entrenched on the left side of the political and those who reside somewhere just right or left of center. She too has historically taken moderate positions on a number of issues – defense, banking and immigration, to name a few. Expect her to press forward moderately on these and other issues where compromise can be reached without alienating the Democratic base..