As many of you know, I’ve been doing a lot of exploration work in these last few months trying to organize and generate interest for a Centrist Policy Institute (CPI).
The mission of CPI is to be a voice and a home for the 40% of the electorate (80 million people) who appear to be fiscal conservatives and social moderates who no longer identify with either of the two political parties.
Quite honestly, it’s become a little more complicated than I realized and probably more than I can handle on my own. You can see a lot of what I started at www.centristpolicyinstitute.com.
I knew from the beginning I didn’t have the right contacts and as a “happy has been” I’m not sure I have enough energy to keep looking for the big dollars to launch an appeal directly to the 80 million moderates and independents.
Everywhere I’ve been I see a variety of organizations who have or are claiming significant amounts of money to pursue what I see as somewhat minimalist objectives to resolve the DC paralysis and our major problems.
Here’s what I found out there, with no attempt to validate their claim:
- “The Coffee Party” who claims 500,000 members or donors in local chapters. They call themselves the anti-tea party.
- “No Labels” has a large staff (10 to 12) and quite a few semi well-known names from both parties as founders, advisors, etc. They say in their daily blog they’re on to the big problems, but their website talks about bandaids for the small problems, i.e., no budget—no pay. They claim 400,000 donors. I am somewhat baffled by their seemingly amateurish continuing requests for donations without telling you much about what the money is for.
- “Mark Zuckerberg” of Facebook fame and some of his SiliconValley friends are said to be raising $50 million to address immigration reform and other single issues.
- “Americans Elect,” a failed concept which never got off the ground. They spent a lot of money last year getting on the ballot in almost all states to nominate an independent candidate for president. They never got a recognizable or qualified name.
- “Comeback America” talks about being centrist but want to concentrate only on economic and political issues. They feel social issues are too divisive.
- “Mayor Mike’s PAC.” Bloomberg has put up $5 million or so and hired a political pro, Howard Wolfson, to run his Political Action Committee. They doled out a few dollars in the 2012 congressional election as well as to two candidates in the L.A. School Board contest (who never promoted that endorsement) and say they will support some individual issues like gun control. Couldn’t get through to Wolfson.
- And then there are a half dozen or more think tanks who espouse centrist principles but they only seem to want to write position papers and hold conferences. All seem well funded.
The one thing all these groups have in common is they are adamant about not wanting to start a third party. I wonder why? Are the current parties doing so well?
What I’ve learned so far:
- This will be a long struggle to gain a foothold (not really a surprise).
- There appears to be nothing out there quite like the CPI.
- The concept of a tax deductible membership model appears to be unique and has a lot more promise that anything else out there.
I’ve already spent a couple of thousand dollars to pursue this project. To incorporate and get it off the ground will probably take about $3,000 more—to trademark the name, expand the website and explore a grant to sustain the program over the next year.
If you’re as disgusted with the Washington paralysis as I am and feel this centrist idea is viable enough to help break through the legislative logjam in our Capitol, please email me and tell me you will pledge $50 or $100 to really help get this going.
Together we might be able to make something happen.