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Centrist Alliance stakes out a place between the partisan extremes

by Damon Eris, published

A new coalition of moderate, centrist third parties called the Centrist Alliance is aiming to fill the void that separates Republicans and Democrats.  Following on the heels of organizations such as No Labels and GOOH, the Centrist Alliance is the most recent in a series of newly formed political groups emphasizing moderatism, centrism and a pragmatic approach to politics.  

With the official launch of the organization’s website on Independence Day, the Centrist Alliance is working to organize the moderate center by coordinating the efforts of the numerous centrist parties that are active in the country.  Currently, there are two member parties in the organization: America’s Third Party and the National Centrist Party.

Alan Hyman, a lead organizer with America’s Third Party who also does outreach to other parties and organizations for the Alliance, became involved with the two groups out of disillusionment with the Democrats and Republicans. 

     “The reason I joined America’s Third Party and help progress this alliance is because I realized the two-party system wasn’t working and something had to be done,” he said in an e-interview with CAIVN. The sentiment is seconded by David Jon Sponheim, the presidential candidate of America’s Third Party.

     “The two parties have engaged in this back and forth hostility that is of no value to the American people,” said the presidential hopeful. 

On the issues, the Centrist Alliance is currently maintaining a relatively open platform emphasizing a strong national defense, immigration reform, a sensible and pragmatic foreign policy, energy independence and electoral reforms that would encourage civic participation and provide an equal place at the table for alternative parties and Independent voters. The influence of other relatively new moderate, centrist political groups is apparent in the Centrist Alliance’s statement of principles, which echoes the motto of the No Labels organization – i.e. “Not left. Not right. Forward.” – in its concluding lines. 

     “We support a pragmatic approach that looks forward. Not to the left or to the right of the political spectrum. We support independent political thinking and independent political action,” states the group on its website.   

“We have kept some of our principles purposely open so that individual parties can expand on them as they like,” said Hyman, who personally emphasizes the importance of ballot access reform.  

     “Simply passing a federal law that says the state laws must be the same for any candidate for the same office would be a huge step in the right direction,” he said.  

The parties in the Alliance are currently working together to obtain ballot access in the 2012 elections and cross-endorsing one another’s candidates.  Sarah Hart of America’s Third Party has been organizing the group’s ballot access effort and has already made petitions available for signature gatherers in seven states, including California.

The Centrist Alliance has been in the works since earlier this year, when Scott Ehredt, a co-founder of the National Centrist Party, began reaching out to other centrist political parties and organizations in the country such as America’s Third Party, the Modern Whig Party, the Reform Party and the American Centrist Association.  The pragmatic approach of the National Centrist Party is apparent in its attitude toward parties that would otherwise be considered potential rivals. Its website encourages visitors to inform themselves about the many centrist third parties that are active in the country and support the one they find best suited to the “monumental task” of taking on the Democrats and Republicans. 

The primary criticism leveled against any third party political effort by the partisans of the Republican and Democratic parties is, of course, that third party candidates act as “spoilers” by splitting the votes of like-minded citizens and indirectly aiding in the election of the candidates they favor least.  The National Centrist Party takes a pragmatic position in this regard as well.  “We don’t want to enter a three-way race between an extremist on one side of the isle and a moderate on the other,” says the organization on its website.  

In addition to the coalition itself, the organization has also registered the Centrist Alliance PAC with the Federal Elections Commission.  However, at present, the Alliance is not accepting any donations but rather urging supporters to donate to the parties themselves and become involved with the group. 

Given the deep frustration and discontent with Republican-Democrat party politics and the steady growth in the number of declared Independents nationwide, groups like the Centrist Alliance are effectively wagering that it is but a matter of time before we witness a mass exodus from the major parties and the fracturing of the reigning two-party state.  It couldn’t happen too soon.