It’s the most conventional wisdom in Washington, the unchallenged idea that America is a divided nation, a country ripped into red and blue factions in perpetual conflict.  The government shutdown this fall would seem like only the latest evidence of this political civil war.  But is the idea of two Americas even true? Not according to a new Esquire- NBC News survey.  At the center of national sentiment there’s no longer a chasm but a common ground where a diverse and growing majority – 51% – is bound by a surprising set of shared ideas.

The people of the center are patriotic and proud, with a strong majority (66 percent) saying that America is still the greatest country in the world, and most (54 percent) calling it a model that other countries should emulate. But the center is also very nervous about the future, overwhelmingly saying that America can no longer afford to spend money on foreign aid (81 percent) when we need to build up our own country.

Pluralities believe that the political system is broken (49 percent), and the economy is bad (50 percent) and likely to stay that way a while (41 percent).  Majorities fear another 9/11 or Boston-style bombing is likely (70 percent), and that their children’s lives will be more difficult than their own (62 percent), which are either stuck in place or getting worse (84 percent) — while the rich keep getting richer at the expense of everyone else (70 percent).

The new American center has a socially progressive streak, supporting gay marriage (64 percent), the right to an abortion for any reason within the first trimester (63 percent), and legalized marijuana (52 percent).  Women, workers and the marginal would also benefit if the center had its way, supporting paid sick leave (62 percent); paid maternity leave (70 percent); tax-subsidized childcare to help women return to work (57 percent); and a federal minimum wage hike to no less than $10 per hour (67 percent).

But the center leans rightward on the environment, capital punishment, and diversity programs.  Majorities support offshore drilling (81 percent) and the death penalty (90 percent), and the end of affirmative action in hiring and education (57 percent).  Most people in the center believe respect for minority rights has gone overboard, in general, harming the majority in the process (63 percent).  Only, one in four support immigration reforms that would provide a path to citizenship for those who came here illegally.

But Washington beware: The people of the new American center aren’t united by easy labels. Some are Republicans (28 percent). Others are Democrats (36 percent). Still others are Independents (36 percent). The people of the center self-describe as liberals (20 percent), conservatives (25 percent), moderates (55 percent) — and 15 percent support the Tea Party.

The center includes suburban mothers, rural working class men, rich city-dwelling business-people and relatively disaffected young people. Yes, the center is mostly white (78 percent) but so is most of the American voting public (72 percent) — and the center is changing.  Already it contains a fifth of African-American voters, one in two Latino voters, and half the women in America.  The center is roomy, or in other words, welcoming.

Bottom line: The center is real, passionate and persuadable. It leans Democratic but a majority of those in the center agree with a mix of Republican and Democratic ideas, and about the same percentage self-describe as neither liberal nor conservative.  I personally took the survey and I also was in the center of personal political choices so, be brave and take the survey and see where you fall.  You never know, we may be more alike in our thinking than you realize.

A word to members of Congress…we the middle are tired of the bullshit in Washington and a revolution is coming.  What we need in Washington is a Congress that looks out for the welfare of all Americans, not just the upper-class or the elitist politicians.  It’s time that the politicians start listening to the “middle” Americans.  So, let us start the movement…we are no longer Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, we are united in like ideas that reflect the true stance of America…The Greater Middle America Movement.

 

 

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