The Centrist Manifesto

A public policy expert's call to action



The book’s  title intrigues — “The Centrist Manifesto” seems like a contradiction in terms. Centrist is by definition moderate; manifesto on the other hand is a powerful word, with echoes of Marx and Engels.

For author Charles Wheelan, though, there is no contradiction — centrists may be moderate in political ideology, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take powerful action, especially when our system of government is in jeopardy.

With a background in teaching public policy at Dartmouth, Wheelan expertly lays out the conditions that created the political system’s sorry state and how a centrist solution could change it.

Wheelan, who also wrote the best-selling “Naked Economics” and “Naked Statistics,” proposes an “insurgency of the rational" that will create a “hard reset.” That reset is comprised primarily of forming a new Centrist Party that utilizes what’s best about both the Democratic and Republican ideologies. To effect change, they would work to elect centrists to four or five US Senate seats. That way centrists will hold the swing votes necessary for either party, or the president, “to do anything.” It could work.

On the last page, Wheelan quotes Victor Hugo’s famous phrase, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” This book could give it a push. 

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