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What Is a Political Moderate?

Centrists usually believe in finding the middle between the nation's rightist and leftist parties to solve political, social, and economic problems.
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The term political moderate can generally be used to describe someone who doesn't hold views on the far edges of the political spectrum. Some of these people may identify with a particular party, or they may describe themselves as independents. If they consider themselves members of a party, a political moderate will often be open-minded about ideas from the opposition parties, and they generally aren't very partisan on many issues.

The actual stance on issues of a political moderate can vary significantly depending on the era and the country they live in. As issues change, the concept of politically moderate viewpoints changes as well. Many people who would have been described as political moderates in the 1800s could be considered fringe extremists in more recent times, and the same can be true for different countries or locations. For example, a moderate viewpoint in one nation might be on the far fringe in another nearby country, and the reasons for these differences may be cultural or religious.

Some individuals who could be described as political moderates actually hold some beliefs that aren't necessarily considered middle-of-the-road. In cases like this, the designation of political moderate is based on the whole spectrum of their political beliefs. Even though they may hold a few beliefs on the far edges, their overall philosophy is much more centrist. Many moderates don’t really feel comfortable with any political party, but their views often lean in one direction or another to some degree.

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The viewpoints of political moderates can sometimes be ignored by the media because they aren't often as vocal. In most cases, those with the most extreme beliefs are also much more politically active, and they can create the perception of a more divisive political environment. Moderates often outnumber those on the far edges, but sometimes their view is ignored by legislators. Some people think that the mainstream media purposely creates the perception of more extreme political division, possibly in order to generate better television ratings and print media sales. Many media outlets have consistently disputed this viewpoint.

Sometimes political moderates are less active in politics overall when compared to people with more aggressive viewpoints. They may be less passionate about issues, or they may pay less overall attention to politics on a day-to-day basis. In most cases, moderates aren't as well-organized, and those on slightly different sides of the issues may have pretty big disagreements with each other, which could make it hard for them to work together. This might be part of the reason why legislators sometimes ignore their beliefs or cater their campaigns to more partisan views.

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amypollick
Post 8

@Kelsey177: I consider myself to be a right-leaning moderate, and I would say the hallmark of a moderate is probably pragmatism. I am practical and tend to look for the common sense answer to an issue. I suspect most of my fellow moderates would agree. Some would say one solution might make more sense than another, but in general, we look for the practical, common sense solution.

For an issue like drilling in the NAWR, I'd say the first thing a moderate would want to know is how drilling would affect the environment. Can these effects be minimized or reversed? If not, then clearly, the drilling would end up being more destructive than helpful in the long term.

If the environmental effects can be minimized, will the cost of drilling actually reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil? If so, then that's a strong reason to investigate it. How long can we expect the supply to last? That's another factor.

I would say, for many moderates, it all boils down to whether the cost of drilling and the possible environmental damage would outweigh the potential (but by no means certain) benefits. Each person must answer that for him or herself. But that's one moderate's view on it, in brief. It's a complex issue.

My Western Civilization professor, in response to a student's question about the different political leanings, said, "Well, if a person had a problem with the bank, if he were a reactionary, he might burn down the bank. A conservative would contact the bank president with his dissatisfaction and might close his account. A moderate would call the bank president, write a letter to the editor of the newspaper, and might or might not close his account. A liberal would do all of the above, and depending on the nature of the offense, boycott the bank. A revolutionary would burn down the bank." That's probably the best description I've ever heard.

Kelsey177
Post 7

What is an example of a moderate viewpoint on oil drilling at the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge?

anon285190
Post 5

Abraham Lincoln was a moderate Republican.

cupcake15
Post 4

SurfNturf-One of the rising stars that the Tea Party supported was Marco Rubio, the newly elected senator in Florida.

Marco Rubio got almost 50% of the vote in a three way race. He is the product of the American Dream. His parents emigrated from Cuba to escape communism and form a better life. His mother worked in a factory while his father was a bartender.

He grew up in West Miami, and to this day lives about four blocks from his childhood home. He graduated from the University of Miami law school and became an attorney and later Speaker of the House in the Florida state legislature.

His life story is a compelling and inspirational one that many people can relate to. His conservative values come from a belief that allowing people to be the best they can be is the best thing that any society can offer.

He believes that the United States offers the best opportunities for anyone willing to work hard. He is a self made man that has been compared to the likes of President Ronald Reagan. His speeches are deeply eloquent and inspirational. He is a true asset to the Republican Party and many believe he has a strong chance of becoming President one day.

surfNturf
Post 3

Suntan12-Republicans believe in a limited government with reduced taxes on individuals and businesses in order to simulate the economy.

They are against government spending on entitlement programs or excessive government regulation which many moderate Republicans supported.

Many believe that this is the reasoning for the rise in the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party although mostly identified with the Republican Party is really not aligned with a political party per se.

It is a movement to bring America back to its founding principles. The Tea Party has filled this vacuum in American politics, but many establishment Republicans that often vote with the Democrats despise this movement because it threatens their very existence.

The Tea Party has many independents and even some Democrats as part of the movement who has shifted their views to political conservatism. Senator Jim Demint, from South Carolina and Govenor Palin from Alaska are said to be king makers of this movement and seek out candidates that share this political modernity.

suntan12
Post 2

GreenWeaver-Sometimes when a Democrat or Republican has moderate political values it may frustrate the pure ideological branch of their respective parties.

Conservatives in the Reagan wing of the Republican Party believe that conservative ideology should be central to any policy or decision.

They often feel that “Establishment Republicans” who compromise their principles weaken the Republican Party. Often these Republicans will vote for additional spending bills that will enlarge the federal deficit which is something that is against the Republican Party platform.

They may also vote for abortion expansion or amensty which are also anti-Republican measures.

GreenWeaver
Post 1

Political ideological viewpoints of a conservative Democrat is often at odds with its party. Usually the moderate stance which is viewed by the more staunch Democrats as lacking loyalty to the Democrat platform is practiced at the disgust of the party.

For example, the Democrat platform believes in a large central government with many regulations that are funded by tax payer money. In addition, they are usually anti military and prefer a protectionist stance in foreign policy.

They often view diplomacy as the only option when dealing with foreign leaders, even those that may harm us.

However moderate Democrats may opt to lower taxes and offer tax cuts to businesses in order to stimulate the economy. This moderate political view goes against the traditional Democrat platform and is viewed as a more conservative viewpoint.

For example, congress recently tried to introduce a Cap and Trade Bill that would tax the energy industry and make gasoline prices go through the roof in order to maintain the environmental standards of the bill.

Joe Machin, a moderate Democrat out of West Virginia, developed graphic campaign ads that used a rifle to shoot through this legislation. He knew that this legislation would destroy the coal industry in West Virginia which is a vital part of their economy.

Although he went against his party, he was elected to the Senate. It is rumored that the Republicans are now courting him to switch parties.

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