GO to the Middle: How to Win a Presidential Election

GO to the Middle: How to Win a Presidential Election

A political perspective on the importance of working with the people in the middle, better known as moderates.

Image by Alexandr Pirogov

"Hi, Debbie, Jane! How are you?" Dominique yelled when she saw us.

"I'm great! I haven't seen you in such a long time!" Debbie said.

"I'm doing great! It's so nice to see you guys!" I replied.

After this 3-minute reunion of college friends, we all sat down at Courtney's Brunch, took our seats at an outside table, and picked up our menus.

"Hi, ladies, my name is John and I will be your server for today. What would you like to drink?"

"I'll have a Mocha," Dominique said.

"I'm leaning towards a decaf coffee," Debbie stated.

"I'll have some rooibos tea if you have some?" I asked.

"I can ask," he said, and he went behind the bar.

"Ladies, I know we have a lot to talk about, but can I just say, our waiter, John..." Dominique said while fanning herself.

"Girl, you crazy. He's literally right there!" Debbie said.

"So what? It wouldn't be bad for him to know that I'm into him," she replied.

Debbie laughed at this. I was just shocked.

"If he's interested, he'll ask for your number," Debbie said.

"Debbie! This isn't prom! What do you think, Jane?"

"I would say go for it if you want? I think either way is fine," I remarked.

After he brought us drinks and we ordered our food, we started talking shop.

"Ok, so did you hear what was said about immigrants today?" Dominique asked. "I mean, literally all of them are coming here for a better life. I would say little to none are criminals."

"Well, if they want to come here, they should do so legally," Debbie responded while sipping her coffee.

"How do you expect them to do that when our immigration system is literally broken? They are literally some of the hardest if not the hardest workers contributing to our country," Dominique said.

"Well, if they come here illegally, then how is that fair to all of the immigrants that are coming here legally? Yes, our immigration system is slow, but we can't just let anyone in. We have to have security," Debbie explained.

"Jane, what do you think?" Dominique asked.

I paused for a second to think. "Well, I do agree that we need to have good security regarding our borders, but in effect, there needs to be a reform of our current immigration system. People would not be coming here illegally if there were a better option".

Dominique and Debbie both looked at me as if I said something really off-putting, and continued arguing.

"Ok, what about abortion?" Dominique asked.

"Don't you mean legalized murder?" Debbie responded. "I am totally against the idea; life begins at conception. I get that sex is happening more often these days, but that just means that people need to be more careful or thoughtful before they do the deed," she further explained.

"Women should have a choice to get an abortion or not. You guys have to think about the mother too, not just the baby. For example, what should the mom-to-be do if she cannot afford to have a baby? Or if she is about to start college?" Dominique passionately argued.

"Jane, please back me up."

"While I do believe that abortion is a bad thing, women should be able to have the option to get one if they need to. While I do understand you, Debbie, abortion is not an easy decision for women. As a Christian, abortion is not good, but why should my religion prohibit someone from doing something that they want to do?" I responded.

"Jane, I'm glad that you are pro-choice, but abortion is not bad at all. I support it all the way," Dominique replied.

"Jane, abortion is literal murder," Debbie added.

I turned again to sip my tea when I saw the waiter listening to our conversation; he was looking at me.

The waiter soon after served us our meals, and we continued discussing politics. While Debbie and Dominique went at it back and forth very passionately, I listened to both but agreed completely with neither. I added in my opinion from time to time.

At the end of brunch, we paid the bill and we said our goodbyes. I was looking for my metro card, so I was still at the table when John approached.

"Jane, is it?" he asked, and I nodded.

"I'm John. So, I don't mean to be rude, but I was eavesdropping on your conversations. You should speak out more; I was rooting for you" he said.

"Oh, thank you" I replied, shocked with what was happening.

"Also, if I'm going too far, let me know. But, if you're interested, here's my number," he added. He smiled and walked away.

Dominique had hailed a cab when walking to my left; Debbie decided to walk to my right; I soon got up and walked to the subway station, which was directly right across the street. We all lived in the same area, but I would get home the fastest.

When I texted John later, he replied with, "Hey, what's up?". He actually gave me his real number, and I was very happy.

For Further Reading:

Ball "Moderates: Who Are They, and What Do They Want?"

Cilliza and Blake "How President Obama won Ohio in 2008 — and whether he can do it again"

Greenblatt "Moderates Are 'Politically Homeless.' Does Either Party Want Them?"

Lerer "Revenge of the Moderates"

Plott "The 2018 Midterms Could Kill the American Moderate for Good"

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