Often seen as “wishy-washy” or “flip-flopping”, a moderate perspective is often defined in opposition to the passion and certainty of other political views.
In contrast to more certain political convictions, moderates often emphasize the gray areas that recognize costs and unintended consequences for different policy decisions. Rather than lacking passion, these would see it as a lack of certainty that there is “an answer” or “one solution.”
Thus some moderates portray their position as somehow flying high above the clouds in a way that sees past petty disagreements. Thus ‘moderate’ is sometimes associated with dialogue, bipartisanship and cross-party collaboration. In this sense, the moderate middle can be seen as reflecting a higher level of enlightenment - with the truly principled middle lying somewhere "in between" the Democrats and the Republicans.
To others, being moderate doesn’t mean “enlightenment” as much as seeing the point of both sides on any particular issue. For many of these people, where they are on the political spectrum depends on what issue is being explored. In this way, people whose overall political views can be summed up as “moderate” may be seen as progressive on some issues and conservative on others.
There are also people for whom “moderate” means “All of these people are idiots; nobody has the real solution” or “I don't think much about politics much - if at all.”
University of Utah Peace and Conflict Studies Chair David Derezotes hosts a radio show called the "Radical Middle" - which is a kind of 'call to dialogue.'
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