The Framework of a Movement

So what does an activist Centrist organization or party look like? While an organization and party must and will ultimately be built by its members, the more structure in place to facilitate that, the better.

Before anything else, Centrists must establish the core ideals that they can get behind, and that our fellow Americans will join us behind. For better or worse, our current dysfunctional “two-party” politics has made this incredibly simple.

Out of necessity, Centrists must be activists. Years leading up to our organization have been wasted believing that we could simply choose the least-worse candidates, or those from the “two parties” that best fit our individual positions, or that we should just help out worthwhile independent candidates. But for the “two parties” and the political and social wings, regular meetings and activities, outreach and recruiting, communication, coordination and fundraising are all a matter of course; if there is anything Centrists can and must emulate from the current political environment, it is this.

Voters should be able to SEE what they are voting for. Fellow moderates and centrists should be able to SEE what we are about and why we are worth joining. Financial supporters and resource providers should be able to SEE what they are supporting. Media must be able to SEE what they are reporting. Candidates and elected representatives should not only SEE what is expected of them, but also SEE that those expectations are important enough for the constituents to be there alongside working to get us all where we need to be. That’s activism.

After committing to being proactive and activist, it’s a matter of working as an organization in a way that reflects our expectations for our government and elected representatives. Again, the “two parties” and the wings make this incredibly simple, if we embrace that which they are increasingly unable or unwilling to provide. A commitment to collaboration over competition invites the widest spectrum of ideas and possible solutions. Maintaining an environment of civility and mutual respect helps people engage in the process and remain engaged. Objectivity and pragmatism help filter out unreasonable, unrealistic, and extremist arguments and proposals. Diversity and civic participation help ensure that we understand and reflect the communities we serve.

With an activist mindset and guiding principles, Centrists will finally and collectively take their place working for solutions to our dysfunctional and destructive political and social situation at all levels. This won’t be done by pushing a list of competing platform points. Instead, Centrists’ collective focus is on acknowledging and highlighting the failings and consequences of adversarial two-party agendas and ideologies, on reducing the level of divisiveness, and on offering a way through it all instead of just complaining or checking out.

That alternative is based on, and therefore must start with, bringing people together. Decades of trying to work within the “two-party system” or staying out of it as “independents” have left centrists and moderates fragmented and increasingly ignored. Centrists and moderates used to decide elections, albeit usually through a sufficient degree of pandering. But in an environment where the wings continue to grow in strength and influence, our true power to positively change the course of our country remains neutered through our continued self-imposed divisions. Coming together under a common cause will attract the other resources (more people, influence, money, etc.) we need to affect sustainable change over the long haul.

This coming together happens from two points. On one end is an organization (“the organization”) consisting of an executive body, specialists, advisors, administrators, etc., and a “toolbox” of resources to help start, develop, grow and support our operations at all levels. On the other end are reasonable, pragmatic and collaborative Americans working individually and together to build and operate local, regional, and state chapters (“chapters”).

Unlike so many other efforts that have failed or continue to stagnate, we are not trying to elect a no-chance President, just make noise, or simply collect money in an attempt to buy our way into two-party politics. We will focus on and restrict support to local issues and the chapters to address them. Not only will we be building real civic and political capital through bottom-up “sweat equity”, but this is the path of least resistance in terms of activity, exposure, “two party” opposition, regulation/compliance, fundraising, etc. The multi-million dollar parties have made it this way.

Supported by the organization, the “toolbox”, and a collective knowledge and experience base to share information, ideas, etc. between leadership, members and chapters, the chapters will work as both social/civic/community service organizations and political activist groups. Chapters will not be simply detached and apolitical community groups. Instead, chapters will network, coordinate, and work with such groups to solve local problems, while also directly addressing local political and governmental issues that may be causing the problems or preventing them from being resolved.

The political element of chapters includes identifying and developing local candidates and initiatives, and coordinating with other nearby chapters to address bigger and/or higher-level campaigns and issues. This networking of smaller chapters will mature into mutually-supporting county/regional/state chapters and organizations, taking on higher-level issues, goals, and candidates (and, eventually, platforms) as they grow.

In this bottom-up approach, it is the members and their chapters that ultimately and collaboratively determine effective candidates, priorities, platform points, and processes to build higher-level approaches for higher-level campaigns and issues. This is significantly different from the top-down approach we are used to, where “the party” sets an agenda and lower-level operations conform to it. In the current environment, bringing people together, discovering workable solutions, and the process we use to get there are more important than pushing any predetermined issue or solution.

If we choose to make it so, the “Third Decade” of 2020 to 2030 will belong to Centrists to return reason, civility, collaboration, and reasonable solutions to American government and our communities. As in 2016, the 2018 political season offers us a stage and a captive audience to reach out to our fellow Americans and show them that, just as they hope for, there is another way. That stage will continue to expand and be amplified throughout 2019 and 2020.

There simply is no better time to get active with a viable and sustainable Centrist movement to finally turn the tide of divisiveness and extremism that has eroded our cooperative society and functional government for too long.

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