Resources

Centrist Websites, Organizations & More

Websites & Organizations

1776 Unites represents a nonpartisan and intellectually diverse alliance of writers, thinkers, and activists focused on solutions to our country’s greatest challenges in education, culture, and upward mobility. It was formed by Black intellectuals in response to the New York Times’ “1619 Project.”

The Academic Freedom Alliance defends freedom of speech by college professors and pushes back against intolerance on campus.

The Bipartisan Policy Center is a Washington, DC-based think tank that actively fosters bipartisanship by combining the best ideas from both parties to promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans, according to its website.

Center Forward brings together members of Congress, not-for-profits, academic experts, trade associations, corporations and unions to find common ground. Our mission: to give centrist allies the information they need to craft common sense solutions, and provide those allies the support they need to turn those ideas into results.

Counterweight takes on Critical Social Justice (sometimes called Critical Race Theory) from a classically liberal perspective, promoting and protecting free speech and opposing repressive actions, especially in academia and the media.

Country1st.com. This website was started in January, 2021 by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of only ten Republican House members to vote to impeach President Donald Trump. His goal is to rekindle traditional Republicanism and to reject Trump’s rightwing populism.

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. A super-wonky bipartisan group of analysts dives deep into polling and voter behavior.

FAIR. The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing civil rights and liberties for all Americans, and promoting a common culture based on fairness, understanding and humanity.

FIRE. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s mission is to defend and sustain the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of liberty. FIRE educates students, faculty, alumni, trustees, and the public about the threats to these rights on our campuses, and provides the means to preserve them.

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is a bi-partisan think tank, formed in the wake of 9/11 and focussed on all aspects of national security.

Gun Owners For Gun Safety is a project of former Rep. Gabby Giffords. It advocates for moderate gun control measures.

The Institute for Humane Studies stands up for freedom of speech and academic inquiry on college campuses.

The Liberal Patriot. Ruy Teixeira is a political demographer and a Democrat who leans practical.

The Lincoln Project. Now that its primary goal — the defeat of Donald Trump — has been accomplished, this group of traditional Republicans turns its attention to rebuilding a party free of Trump populism.

The Lugar Center maintains an index of bipartisanship, ranking every member of Congress on how well they work with the opposite party.

More in Common. According to its website, “More in Common works on both short and longer term initiatives to address the underlying drivers of fracturing and polarization, and build more united, resilient and inclusive societies.” The organization works in the U.S., Germany, England and France.

New Democrat Coalition. A group of 94 centrist House members who claim that, “the center of gravity among House Democrats is moderate.”

The Problem Solvers Caucus. Founded in 2017, this group of Democratic and Republican members of the House have worked to find common ground on important issues facing the country.

republicEn. An organization of conservatives working on climate change.

Slow Boring is a blog and newsletter by Matthew Yglesias on American politics and public policy. The name comes from Max Weber’s essay on “Politics as a Vocation”where he writes that “Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards” that “takes both passion and perspective.”

Third Way. A centrist think tank with Democratic roots.

Voice of the People is a bipartisan initiative to promote common ground on specific national issues. Its unique attribute is its “Policy Simulator”, which puts users in the seats of policy makers and gives them a feel for the pressures they face.

Online Publications

American Purpose is a wide-ranging online journal committed to classical liberal values here and abroad.

The Dispatch sells itself as “fact-based conservative news.” It’s editor, Jonah Goldberg, also has a syndicated column in which he generally lives up to that right-center, even-handed promise.

Persuasion is an online publication for people who, seek to build a free society in which all individuals get to pursue a meaningful life irrespective of who they are; believe in the importance of the social practice of persuasion; and are determined to defend free speech and free inquiry against all its enemies.

Reuters is a news source that hues pretty closely to traditional objective news reporting values and covers international issues well.

Columnists

David Brooks is the dean of rational, thoughtful traditionally conservative commentators.

Chris Cillizza delivers The Point to your inbox every weekday evening. His quick takes on one item in the day’s news skew a little liberal (after all, he does work for CNN), but he doesn’t hesitate to call out the left when it’s warranted.

S.E. Cupp is a Never Trump Republican who voted for Joe Biden. She writes from a center-right point of view.

Ross Douthat is a centrist columnist for the New York Times. He often tackles issues of faith from the perspective of a liberal Catholic.

Thomas B. Edsall is an especially thoughtful columnist for the New York Times and the author of several books. His weekly deep dives, always relying heavily on studies and academic researchers, concentrate largely on blue collar voting behavior. No one better explains this demographic, without judgement or condescension, then Edsall.

William Galston is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a center-left Democrat who is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal.

Jonah Goldberg is the editor of The Dispatch and he has a syndicated column that appears in several newspapers. He is a Never Trump Republican who takes a reasoned, center-right approach.

Bret Stephens is a center-right columnist for the New York Times who often challenges the Times’ mostly liberal readership.

John McWhorter is a linguistics professor at Columbia and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, The New Republic and the Atlantic. A Black writer, he often challenges Critical Race Theory.

Books

In The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. In this book published in 2018, Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff argue that well-intentioned adults are unwittingly harming young people by raising them in ways that implicitly convey three untruths:

  1. The Untruth of Fragility: What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.
  2. The Untruth of Emotional Reasoning: Always trust your feelings.
  3. The Untruth of Us vs. Them: Life is a battle between good people and evil people.  

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress. This book by Harvard linguistics Prof. Steven Pinker, published in 2018, makes a convincing case that, since classically liberal, Age of Enlightenment values have taken hold, the world has made rapid progress toward ending war, disease and poverty.

 The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World by Adrian Wooldridge. This is a timely history and defense of merit in the apportionment of power and resources in society. Wooldridge argues that we should continue to evaluate people as individuals rather than as members of in or out groups.

The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics by Mark Lilla. A humanities professor at Columbia, Lilla argues in this book published in 2017 that identity politics made Donald Trump president and only by abandoning it and moving back toward basic ideas of fairness and classical liberal values can the Democrats succeed again.

Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Nationalism and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy. In this 2018 book Jonah Goldberg argues that the natural human tendency is to reward our friends and punish our enemies, to be, in a word, tribal. What he describes as “the miracle” (liberal Enlightenment values, meritocracy and capitalism) required constant work and vigilance lest we slip back.

Quotes

Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.

Bill Clinton

This is a practical country. We have ideals, we have philosophies. But, the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence.

Bill Clinton

I have a number of vices, one of which is moderation.

E. L. Doctorow

In that instrument (the Constitution) I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing (slavery); but, interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document.

Frederick Douglas

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.

Confucius

Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.

Epicurus

But we must not exempt ourselves from scrutiny; whenever we treat an identity as something to be fenced off from those of another identity, we sell short the human imagination.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.

George Harrison

Democrats should do a lot of polling to figure out which of their views are popular and which are not popular, and then they should talk about the popular stuff and shut up about the unpopular stuff.

Ezra Klein summing up David Shor’s “popularist” philosophy

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men—yes, Black men as well as white men—would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The anti-meritocratic policies of recent years… violate one of the central precepts of Western public life, namely, that people should be judged and treated as individuals. In the name of what its advocates call social justice, therefore, racial and ethnic quotas reinstate a practice that Western societies, over the course of several centuries, had come virtually unanimously to consider unjust.

Michael Mandelbaum

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you do know for sure that ain’t so.

Will Rogers

The university is the place where young people should be challenged every day, where everything they know should be put into question, so that they can think and learn and grow up. And the idea that they should be protected from ideas that they might not like is the opposite of what a university should be.

Salman Rushdie

What modernity requires is not that you cease living according to your faith, but that you accept that others may differ and that therefore politics requires a form of discourse that is reasonable and accessible to believer and non-believer alike. This religious restraint in politics is critical to the maintenance of liberal democracy.

Andrew Sullivan

America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise.

Warren Harding

If you look inside the Democratic Party, there are three times more moderate or conservative nonwhite people than very liberal white people, but very liberal white people are infinitely more represented. That’s morally bad, but it also means eventually they’ll leave. The only way out of this is to care more and cater to the preference of our low-socioeconomic-status supporters.

David Shor, Democratic number cruncher & strategist

Miscellany

Bruce Springsteen’s “The Middle”. The Boss made an ad for Jeep that aired once during the Super Bowl in February of 2021. Yes, he was selling an off road vehicle, but it’s a powerful message about what unites us.. in the center.

The Chicago Principles. In 2014 and in response to increasing pressure to shut down conservative views on campuses, the University of Chicago issued its stirring statement on academic freedom. “But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” 

The Harper’s Letter. On July 7, 2020, a group of several dozen writers, journalists, artists and academics issued a letter in support of free speech and classical liberal values. It’s a simple, but powerful and necessary, statement.

A Man for All Seasons: The Benefit of Law. In this epic film on the life of Thomas More (patron saint of politicians), the fictionalized More makes an impassioned speech for the equal protection of the laws, even for “the devil” himself.

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