Politics in America

“The very things that can make the center so appealing, however, are also its great weaknesses”

The very things that can make the center so appealing, however, are also its great weaknesses. As worried centrists have long noted, it can be hard to rally the people behind a message of pragmatism, compromise and limits. It can also be challenging to know exactly what a “centrist” is supposed to believe, especially in an age of multiple clashing agendas. Centrism is more about process than ideology, a faith in practical politics over moral absolutes. Its range of available ideas is mostly determined by what other people think. If we really are lined up along a spectrum, then the location of the center depends mostly on what happens at the extremes. The center cannot hold, or stay in the same place, because it was, by definition, never meant to.

Beverly Gage, “Core Values”, The New York Times Magazine (10 February 2019), 12.