Friday, January 20, 2006

Centrist/Independent Blogs On the Rise

New York Sun columnist and author of Independent Nation, John Avlon has written a great column on the explosion of Centrist blogs.

Amid the media attention that has followed liberal and conservative blogs, the dramatic increase in the number of self-identified centrist blogs has been comparatively ignored. These are decidedly more difficult to pigeonhole - that's largely the point - but their rise indicates much the same thing as the 300% increase in the number of independent registered voters across the nation since 1994: There is an increased alienation from partisan politics as usual that the established parties have tried to ignore.

[The center is] a lively place to be on the political spectrum because centrists catch hell from both sides. It's an occupational hazard: Liberals think centrists are conservative, while conservatives think they're liberal. As Alan Carl, a founder of the Yellow Line blog, who now opines at Maverick Views, explains, "A lot of blog readers are ideological purists, and a centrist blogger can catch a lot of grief for not toeing a particular party line."

It's also important to appreciate that centrists do not at this time have any organizational think tanks or party apparatus to support them. This is a self-propelled grassroots movement, responding to what Mr. Carl calls "a real thirst out there for voices that exist outside the left-right echo chambers."

All this is indicative of a larger trend toward de-alignment - as opposed to re-alignment - that Democrats are confronting today. Despite the popular backlash against the excesses of congressional Republicans, Democrats have been unable so far to find increased public support. Instead, voters are increasingly opting out of the partisan policy straitjacket and deciding to run, register, or vote as an independent.

Yeah, I just quoted the part where Avlon quoted me. It saves me from having to repeat myself. And who doesn’t enjoy a little self-aggrandizement from time-to-time?

But seriously, if you’re reading this it’s probably because you have an interest in all us voices speaking from outside the left-right divide. Whether we’re witnessing a new phase of America politics or just the inevitable backlash against the putrid partisanship of our times, I don’t know. But there’s a lot of us refusing to play the partisan games. And that’s a good thing.

5 Comments:

Blogger gljunket said...

Amen! You and other Centrist bloggers are bringing sanity and hope to a government (political and bureaucratic) and media "frenzy" that rescued me from a depressed state. I'm trying to "catch up" now (reading Avlon's book as well as Mark Satin's Radical Middle). The question that keeps haunting me as I'm inspired is, "What can I do to make a real difference?" The current trends MUST be changed! How do we focus the "self-propelled grass-roots movement" to make a real impact on the "establishment" (certainly a classic challenge).

11:27 AM  
Blogger M. Takhallus. said...

I am profoundly disappointed to find you engaging in self-aggrandizement this way. Have you no shame? After all, it's not as if your blog provided "proof that people in the center can be both passionate and informed," like a certain blog I could mention that rhymes with, um, Nighty Niddle.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Micahel,

Yes, it is rather small of me. But I stand on the shoulders of midgets who did the exact same...only sooner.

1:30 PM  
Blogger amba said...

It was a happy thing to see you and TMV in that piece.

10:59 AM  
Blogger amba said...

And Michael!!

11:04 AM  

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