In the world of politics, people who describe themselves as moderate share in common a handful of fundamental beliefs. These people are united not around a party or organization but around a certain worldview. In this article I am going to tell you the most important things you need to know about what defines a moderate.
Oxford dictionary describes a moderate as an “individual who is not extreme, partisan or radical”. People often use centrist as a synonym with the term but it should not be used interchangeably. Moderates can be centrists, but they can also be classified either as center-left or center-right on the classic political spectrum. There is a significant degree of flexibility when it comes to party choice for these individuals as they have very pragmatic tendencies when it comes to voting.
There are, nevertheless, a select few beliefs and characteristics that ties every political moderate together. They are listed as follows:
Common Sense and Reason
A moderate’s thinking about political issues is founded on the premise that they think with their heads. Meaning, they try to not let their emotions get in the way of making decisions on often difficult and complex issues. They understand the various implications both positive and negative that could arise from taking one position or another on a given topic. Thus, moderates try to vote as rationally as they can. Moderates weigh the importance of one thing versus the other and decide which one is truly more crucial and will be more beneficial to the society in which they live. They also have a tendency to vote pragmatically or “strategically” when the occasion warrants such behavior. The moderate despises irrationality, which leads me to the next section.
Belief in Science
I strongly and personally believe that a belief in science is absolutely essential to the identity of a moderate. To discredit the basics of science is to exhibit an utter disregard for reason and rationality. In most western countries this is not an issue like it is in the United States of America. Statistics from polls that ask Americans about their beliefs in science and evolution are absolutely disheartening to the average person of sanity. After having a president for the last eight years that disrespected and misunderstood science, the numbers should not come as a shock. Regardless of whether one votes as a moderate conservative or moderate liberal, a belief in science is imperative to being able to justly hold the ‘m’ word in their title.
Moderates often describe themselves as “independents”, not affiliating themselves with any specific political party. However, they can favor one party over the other, hence the terms moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans. When moderates’ party of choice starts to move too far to the left or the right, they can become uneasy. Candidates who take far left or right ideological positions are not appealing to average moderate voters. When the media reports that independents decide elections in places like the United States and Canada, what they are really saying is that moderates decide those elections. In the U.S., the last two Democratic Presidents were moderates, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. George W. Bush campaigned as a moderate with the slogan “compassionate conservatism” but governed mostly as an ideologue. In Canada, the Liberal party of Canada defines itself as a centrist/moderate party and dominated Canadian politics for most of the last 100 years. These kinds of parties are most attractive to moderates.
I believe that these three aspects best describe what a moderate is and what he or she believes in. In the world of politics, moderates know how to work together and how to get things done.