The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

Does It Bother You? Party polarization to blame for near extinction of the rare ‘moderate’

By Patrick Glenn ’16

Does it bother you that people seem to be so radical on the political spectrum? In my experience, it seems that individuals willing to publicly express a political view tends to lean to one extreme or the other. Whenever the presidential election or politics in general are discussed, the only things I hear are words of scorn and extremism. What I’d like to know is, where are the moderates at? And more specifically (and not to alienate any of my charming peers) where have all my moderate Republicans gone?

I’m not trying to sound super liberal here. Although I may tend to lean a little to the left, I am doing my very best to remain impartial with this article. So, back to the point, where have all of these moderate Republicans gone? To clarify, a moderate Republican, also known as a “Rockefeller Republican,” (derived from former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller) is an individual who is willing to work across the aisle, be progressive with social issues and overall be far less radical in their ideals. For decades, these so called “Liberal Republicans” were a very strong presence in American politics.

As the ’80s and ’90s passed, the Republican right wing radicalized at an increasingly alarming rate. However, liberals and conservative were still able to compromise and play the game of give-and-take. Whether it was President Ronald Reagan (R) with Speaker of the House “Tip” O’Neill (D) or President Bill Clinton (D) with a Republican Congress, these politicians had the ability to meet each other in the middle and get business done. I may be romanticizing both men a little since their presidencies were flanked by Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, but the fact remains that very few politicians today have the desire to seek compromise from their opposing party members.

Let’s return the discussion to a more micro level: radical teenagers spewing venom both left and right. Conservative teenagers screaming “Lock Hillary up!” or classifying people as “Makers and Takers” and liberal teens demanding free college tuition and deeming every borderline comment as “offensive” and “ignorant” are the very root of the problem. And the real reason there are candidates like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders is because of the radicalization of the general public.

We must end these extreme viewpoints now, and return to a more moderate position. Without the ability to compromise and come to agreements, gridlock will continue and very little will be accomplished.

So, do your best to remain open-minded and civil in your discourse.  You don’t need to lose your opinions, but be open to compromise.


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