The Movement To Save America
A house divided cannot stand.
— Jesus Christ and Abraham Lincoln
We are experiencing a cataclysm, a coming inauguration so uprooting and so polarizing that the existing order will never be the same.
Whether excited or dismayed by our President-Elect, people are fired up.
The energy differences across the spectrum remind me of physics class with Mr. Rolf. The extremes have tremendous kinetic energy, while the moderates in the middle are wondering what to do now.
The populists are split into two camps, those who feel vindicated and those who feel mountains of disappointment. The Bernie supporters will not go quietly. They are taking to the streets at the same time as team Trump is readying to rule.
The moderate Democrats are devastated. They thought that by charting the path of Bill Clinton, marrying liberalism with an embrace of capitalism, that a populist right winger in the White House was an unimaginable outcome. Meanwhile moderate Republicans, largely open or closet social liberals, are equally concerned about a potentially isolationist and protectionist retreat from the global economy.
Moderates on both sides of the aisle are feeling similar emotions.
Lost, anxious, depressed. Apoplectic. Ambivalent. Forlorn.
In the upheaval lies opportunity. Moderates possess potential energy yet untapped. As the poles of the political spectrum percolate and take to the White House and the streets, those in the middle have to do something. The reality is moderates across both parties have a mutual incentive to protect America.
The core challenge is one of unity.
Could the moderates team up? Could moderate Democrats, moderate Republicans, and a bevy of independents come together? If this center trinity joined forces and become one movement, it could change American politics for the next 100 years.
Not a new party doomed to the dustbin of American third parties, but a cross-party movement, and brand, that is incepted from within the two parties themselves. A strong unifying movement that could bring the apathetic off the bench.
Just look at the data:
100 million voters were split at roughly 50/50 between Trump and Hillary.
100 million potential voters were so uninspired that they did not vote at all.
After centuries of fighting and protesting and politicking for freedom and democracy, half of our populace cannot even muster a trip down the street or a walk down the block to vote.
The freedom fighters and suffragists are rolling over in their graves.
Where does such profound voter apathy come from?
- Feeling their vote doesn’t matter.
- Feeling uninspired.
Hillary won the popular vote by 2 million votes and counting — more than Obama did in 2012 — and it doesn’t matter because she lost the Rust Belt states and Florida. Those states now decide every election.
Those of us who live in most of the other states face a dizzying choice: stay home, or cast a vote that doesn’t matter.
This election was a tale of two populist movements. One was led by a socialist whose intentions are fabulous but whose ideas are not rooted in reality; the other by a capitalist who lacks experience, inhibition and basic human decency.
The moderate candidates were both defeated in spite of massive dollars raised. Hillary and Jeb lost their large-donor corporate treasure chests to the small-donation masses, a highly energized population of Americans on both sides of the aisle who want real change. Qualified though they may be, Jeb and Hillary failed at leading movements of their own. And now a culture dressed in narcissism gives birth to a narcissist to rule us all.
The two party system leaves moderate candidates increasingly unable to mobilize. If you are a moderate Republican, you need votes from moderate Democrats to win. The R next to your name on the ballot precludes this. To vote across the aisle, a voter needs to be both an independent thinker and well-researched. The center of that Venn diagram is virtually the null set. The same holds for a moderate Democrat trying to garner Republican votes. The party stain cannot be washed away on either side. Most voters simply do not have the time to do the reconnaissance required to confidently vote across party lines.
The question then is: How do we build a movement that voters can trust to vote on from both sides of the aisle? How do we build a non-partisan wedge movement in the center, when the concept of the center itself is uninspiring?
We need a radical approach to our politics to rescue the country from polarization.
We need to make the middle sexy.
We need to unify.
We need to glue America’s broken heart back together.
It is the profound paradox of our time that the real change the country needs must come from a new breed of revolutionary non-partisans.
We are not throwing away our shot.