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Centrist / Moderate Personal Blog to Political Community
From Centrist / Moderate Rant Space to Growing Online Community
The most avid readers here might know that this site is almost a year in the coming. I started the centrist blog Rise of the Center (rest in peace) in the summer of 2010, after being frustrated with the lack of a strong voice for what I call the “Big Tent Center” – which encompasses the centrists and moderates who stand between conservatives and liberals (and libertarians, if you’re thinking outside of the two-dimensional political map we’ve been force-fed).
At first, Rise of the Center was really just my own personal rant space, reflecting my generally centrist to moderate political perspective. I wasn’t prepared for how quickly it grew.
It wasn’t one of those mythical examples of a blog that goes from zero to the owner making a full-time living off of it in the span of a short period of time, in fact I’ve spent FAR more money on this site than it has made, but how far we’ve come is highly unusual for a site being run by someone who initially had next to no idea what he (I) was doing, and had a budget of what I could spare out-of-pocket while working at a nonprofit pilot juvenile diversion program (not kidding).
Everything I learned over the last two years plus is going into this site. After it became clear that it could go somewhere, I started putting some time into learning more about how to build an online community for centrist and moderate voters.
It’s not as pretty as it’s going to be – there will be a ton of design tweaks that will clean up the look, but this site will grow faster than Rise of the Center ever did, and has all sorts of functionality meant to make it a nexus for centrist and moderate political discussion.
Remember – when I use the term centrist below, I’m referring to the “Big Tent Center”, not any sense of zealous centrist purity. We’re welcome to everyone from moderate conservatives like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Scott Brown – RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) to moderate liberals like Claire McCaskill, Marker Warner and Jim Webb – DINOs (Democrats in Name Only)… and everything in between.
Unlike the increasingly zealous and ideologically narrow segments of the population that the two major parties represent, from pushing out their few remaining centrist members, we open our arms to the 50-60% of the American people right at it’s core.
Here’s what we’ve got cooking for you…
RIP Rise of the Center – Hello Centrists Rising
We started with a blog, and the blog will continue to be front and center (ha). Only this time, we’re opening the doors to more voices.
If you’ve thought about dipping your toes into the centrist / moderate blogging game, here’s the easiest way for you to do so. If you have a centrist to moderate blog that isn’t getting much traffic, come on over here and tap into our audience – a ton more people will see your content, and you wont have to worry about moderating spam and trolls, worrying about hosting, promotion, etc – let us do that for you, and let you concentrate on the fun part – writing solid centrist to moderate content, and chatting (okay… arguing) with commenters.
Centrist / Moderate Blog – Now Open to All Registered Users
One of the biggest changes to the site is we’ll now give people the chance to create accounts and write blog posts. Previously, people had to email their content to me and then I’d scan it, sometimes do a bit of editing, and then post it. Now, anyone who has an account just needs to ask me and I’ll give their account the ability to post to the Centrist Views & Moderate Voices area, where any registered user (that has asked for the functionality to be added to their account and hasn’t broken any rules) can publish blog posts.
Besides having to ask to be given this ability (which will be taken away if it is abused), this will be a sort of Wild Wild West for people who’d like to dip their toes into the blogging game, or have a site with content they’d like to share with folks on our site. It’s a heck of a lot easier than trying to start your own blog, and building an audience from scratch. Let us do the work for you, and the work you put into writing posts will be seen by a heck of a lot more centrist and moderate blog readers.
If the material you post is original (aka – not posted elsewhere), decently written and fits a few other basic criteria that I detail on the page about blogger guidelines, your post might get bumped to the Promoted or Featured sections on the front page. Among other thigns, the posts in those sections will get will get the most play on our huge (over twenty thousand and counting) Twitter feed, (smaller but more active) Facebook fan pages and will be shared the most on other link sharing feeds the most (Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc) – they’ll get a lot more traffic than other posts on the site.
Centrist / Moderate Forums – Deeper & Sane Debate
One of the many things I searched for when I was merely a centrist reader, before I started blogging myself, was a centrist forum – a message board of, by and for centrist and moderate voters. There are tons of these sorts of sites on the left and right, and a few horribly small email listservs and hard to find discussion groups if you dig around – but nothing like this anywhere that I could find.
If you’ve ever been to a site with forums, you’ll be able to jump right in here. The only difference is that only those with accounts will be able to take part (meaning only centrists and moderates, or at least those who haven’t shown themselves not to be, or those who’ve not shown themselves to be trolls/jerks), and we’ll actually be pretty harsh in enforcing basic rules of decorum. Flamers will be banned, extreme hyperbole will get people banned, non-centrists and moderates will be blocked, personal attacks will get people banned, etc. The forums are for sane centrist to moderate debate, that hopefully goes deeper than the conversations that spring from comments under most blog posts.
Centrist Wiki – Political Centrist / Moderate Information Hub
This section of the site is where I’m going to be spending a good portion of my time personally. The Centrist / Moderate Wiki will be a sort of an encyclopedia and dictionary of centrist / moderate political information – of, by and for centrists and moderates. More than a blog, this will consist of static, more in-depth, profiles and articles on figures, organizations, terms and anything relevant to current events that the team of writers I’ll put together think needs a more in-depth touch than it’s getting elsewhere in the media, or on our blog.
I will need help with this section. If you’re interested with helping me with researching and writing, after you’ve created an account shoot me a message through my profile here on the site.
Onward and Upward Wayward Centrists & Moderates
I wish I’d been wrong, but I’ve been saying for years that we’re still not even close to seeing a movement of centrists & moderates rise up and start really fighting back against the two-party system’s duopoly and it’s liberal and conservative special interest string-pullers. In fact, things have gotten much worse over the last decade.
BUT… in just the last few years you can start to see seeds sprouting, in what could be the roots… the foundation for an opposition movement. Most commentators pretend like movements like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street spontaneously came from nowhere, but the reality is they would have never gone anywhere without a huge support network. We need to do the groundwork so that the opposition movement that our country needs has a chance to spark when the time is right.
The mostly right wing Tea Party movement only came along and was able to begin taking over the republican party after decades of foundation building by right wing think tanks, issue organizations, special interest groups and media outlets. When the Tea Party sparked, these networks were there to plug millions of believers right in.
The mostly left wing Occupy Wall Street movement only came along after years of foundation building by a similar network of “progressive” / liberal issue organizations, think tanks, special interest groups and media outlets. The first protest was small, but it went viral, and was kept alive through the networks of those organizations and outlets.
This is just starting to spark with centrists and moderates. There are new political parties, like the Moderate Party of Rhode Island and Independence Party of Minnesota, that are leading the way, showing how people need to focus on their own states and localities – rather than wait for another billionaire to save us from the messed up and ideologically extreme political system that’s eating away at our country’s future and prosperity.
We can’t rely on individuals using their piles of money to try and build a political party for us overnight. The sick sad joke that was Americans Elect is a good example of how that sort of top-down, iron grip from the bigwigs over the grassroots just doesn’t work. We need to build from the ground up, and having places online like this, where people can meet, see their views represented, learn and connect with like minded people in their areas is one of the biggest missing puzzle pieces for what needs to happen for a centrist / moderate opposition movement to spring up.
Centrist to Moderate Political Groups
Third Way, The New America Foundation, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Common Sense Coalition are fantastic examples of think tank type organizations filling the gap in policy research for centrists and moderates.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Concord Coalition, Comeback American Initiative and The Moment of Truth Project are fighting for the solvency of our country. They’re fighting the fiscally insane overspending and under-taxation that has gotten us to the point where we’re adding a trillion dollars in debt to our kids’ shoulders each of the last few years.
This doesn’t even begin to touch on the slew of genuinely nonpartisan / transpartisan organizations that fight for causes that aren’t aimed at helping either major party – just the overall good of the American people. These range from election reform organizations like United Republic, Stop Top Two and Buddy Roemer’s The Reform Project, to transparency groups like the Sunlight Foundation.
It also is important to mention the work of the handful of media outlets that are informing the public, amidst the din of partisan filtered “news” outlets. Sites like ProPublica, FactCheck.org, Politifact, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, National Journal, Politico, The Hill and The Economist are great places to go to stay informed.
It’s happening folks… building a more vibrant online centrist / moderate blogosphere is but one brick in the foundation, but it’s another step closer to the breaking point when people get sick and tired of the extremism and corruption that controls Washington and get so angry that they go out and start doing something about it.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you find what you’re looking for here – and I hope you decide to do what you can to help build the sort of centrist / moderate movement we need for our country to reach it’s potential again in coming years.