A recent Gallup poll listed ‘dissatisfaction with the government’ as the highest ranking problem facing Americans. They found that fewer than a third of Americans are happy with the direction the country is going.
More concerning, partisanship is more strident than ever -- preventing any kind of pragmatic reform before it even starts. With that type of gridlock, it’s no surprise that nearly 40% of voters now self-identify as political independents.
Now imagine if instead we had legislators that were accountable to people, instead of their parties.
It’s possible. And there’s a group with a plan to make it happen.
In the Senate, electing just a few independent-minded legislators can prevent BOTH major parties from a having a majority.
That small group would act as a swing coalition in the Senate and force the two sides toward the center, leading to finding common ground and practical, rather than partisan, solutions.
A group called the “Centrist Project” is organizing voters, donors, volunteers, and identifying candidates that can produce a coalition to execute what they have termed the ‘Fulcrum Strategy.’
Is the Centrist Project trying to create a third party? Not exactly:
"The Centrist Project aims to reshape and reform our political system – not as a traditional third party, but as America’s first Unparty. We are a 21st Century political organization dedicated to organizing Centrist voters and supporting independent candidates who desire to put our country ahead of any political faction in order to solve problems." - The Centrist Project
How will the Centrist Project Target Candidates?
"The Centrist Project is looking for candidates who can serve with integrity, are aligned with the Centrist Principles, and have the ability to run a viable campaign." - The Centrist Project
Many talented leaders fit the above profile and would run for office as independents if they knew they had sufficient support from those outside of the two major parties. To this end, the Centrist Project has set a goal of getting 10,000 people to pledge their support and show these individuals that an independent run would have a real chance of success.
The following individuals are examples of potential candidates who meet the criteria set by the Centrist Project, and voters can submit their own ideas through the Centrist Project's website.
U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, from Hawaii’s second district, has only been in office since 2013, but in that short time she’s made large strides in distinguishing herself as one not beholden to any political party. She even left her position as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee to support U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in his presidential bid.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is another current officeholder who’s known for taking stances that differ from those of his party. He’s widely regarded as a ‘moderate’ Republican; supporting pro-choice issues, Obamacare, immigration reform, and aggressive policies to promote clean energy.
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is most well-known as the Libertarian Party's nominee for president in 2012 and 2016. But he was also a two-term Republican governor of the blue state of New Mexico. Generally, Johnson is socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Notably, even as a Republican governor, Johnson was a strong supporter for marijuana legalization, gay marriage, and immigration reform.
Another former Republican is Evan McMullin, the former CIA operative who ran for president in 2016 as an independent. He was a senior adviser on national security issues and chief policy director for the House Republican Conference. He ran for president as “a conservative alternative” to the two major party candidates, and in January he formed Stand Up Republic, a nonpartisan organization aimed at defending “liberty, equality, and truth” in America.
Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was previously a moderate Republican senator who was often maligned by the neoconservative flank of his own party. He was one of three Republican senators in 2007 who supported the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and sponsored the "21st Century GI Bill," which expanded education assistance to veterans who served after 9/11.
Matthew Dowd’s political past includes working with both Republican President George W. Bush and Missouri Democratic U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt. He now describes himself as a “proud independent” and he recently founded ListenTo.Us, an online community of independent thinkers dedicated to the concept of country over party.
While not a politician, retiring Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has spoken out on several publicly-debated issues. He most recently pledged to hire 10,000 refugees in 75 countries in response to President Trump’s travel ban, but previously he donated to both Republicans and Democrats.
If the above leaders are the type you’d like to see in office, the Centrist Project is gathering pledges to support a slate of independent candidates who are committed to representing people, not parties.
Whether the Centrist Project can #HacktheSenate is yet to be seen.
But if you are tired of partisan politics, you might want to help their effort by getting involved right now.