Tom Campbell

Democrats are seeing how far and fast they can run to the left. Meanwhile, Trumplicans – they don’t act like most Republicans we’ve known – are march-stepping to the right before falling off the edge of the earth. You have to wonder, whatever happened to moderates? Did they die off or are they just hiding?

Political pundits have often said we are a “purple” state, neither blood red Republican nor deep sea blue Democratic, but is that true? Of North Carolina’s 6.9 million registered voters, 36.9 percent are registered Democrats, 30.0 percent are Republican and 32.3 percent are unaffiliated. Michael Bitzer, Catawba College’s political science professor, says that the unaffiliateds lean more to one party than the other. He calls North Carolina a “center/lean-right” state. We are primarily a centrist people who may lean but haven’t tumbled.

Moderates need to come out from hiding and make your beliefs heard. As one who professes to be a moderate, can I advance what I believe is a Moderate Manifesto?

Moderates are fed up with today’s partisan, hateful political climate and the inability of people to find solutions to problems.

Immigration is exhibit one. We don’t approve of open borders but are convinced there are commonsense immigration policies that don’t separate children from parents, treat all people humanely and allow reasonable numbers to enter the U.S.

Regarding human sexuality, we don’t care what you do in your bedroom so long as you don’t force us to make your cause our cause.

Healthcare is one of our biggest issues. We aren’t willing to give up our private healthcare insurance; neither are we ready to sign on for free Medicare for all. Obamacare needs repairing, not scrapping.

We acknowledge a woman’s right to control her body in accordance with Roe v. Wade, but don’t believe in late-term abortions unless the mother’s health is at stake or the fetus is unviable. 

We believe in capitalism, but acknowledge it needs to return to the days when executive salaries were more in keeping with workers’ and when stock prices and profits weren’t the only yardsticks of a good corporation.

We believe public education is failing too many students and agree in school choice, but not as a re-segregation tool. We also don’t believe higher education should be free to all but must become more affordable and more accountable.

We support your right to own guns but insist more reasonable regulations are needed.

We support fair and free elections, with fair districts drawn so that the best candidate’s ideas can win regardless of party affiliation, and free in that big money, independent expenditure groups can’t essentially “buy” elections. We support term limits on both the federal and state levels. 

Moderates acknowledge the role government plays in doing those things we cannot do for ourselves, but recognize that throwing tax dollars at problems doesn’t solve them; greater accountability and oversight is needed in the public sector. Our tax systems should encourage entrepreneurs but should not benefit the rich over the middle class. 

This manifesto doesn’t speak for all moderates, but I suspect they agree with many points. The public debate has been dominated by the left and the right. Now it’s time for moderates to be heard. We might even persuade others to our views. This is no time to be timid.

Tom Campbell is former assistant state treasurer. Contact him at www.ncspin.com.