This Centrist Project sounds intriguing

This morning I received this release, which I find intriguing, as you would expect:

Centrist Project Launches Independent Candidate Recruitment Campaign for 2018 Election

San Francisco, CA – With strong funding, leadership, and grassroots momentum, the Centrist Project announced today a new “#HackTheSenate” campaign to reform America’s dysfunctional political system. The Centrist Project is recruiting independent candidates to run for U.S. Senate and state legislatures in 2018. Voters have already begun pledging their support and crowdfunding contributions online.

“Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders demonstrated that the current political environment is ripe for disruption,” said Nick Troiano, the Centrist Project’s new Executive Director, and former independent candidate for U.S. House. “But the system is still badly broken, as we can see from the vicious partisanship over such issues as health care reform and Supreme Court nominations.”centrist

The Centrist Project’s “fulcrum strategy” aims to elect a sufficient number of centrist, independent candidates to legislatures, including the U.S. Senate, to deny each of the traditional parties an outright majority. The Centrist Project will also work to persuade elected Democrats and Republicans to abandon their party affiliations. This new centrist core of independents will hold the balance of power and forge common ground solutions to address the country’s major challenges.

“The Centrist Project is a powerful and achievable ‘hack to the system’ that can truly transform American politics,” said Marc Merrill, a board member of the Centrist Project and co-founder/co-CEO of Riot Games, Inc. Magazine’s 2016 Company of the Year.

The Centrist Project has raised over $600,000 in seed funding to support its candidate recruitment activities, including from hundreds of grassroots members who are sending small dollar donations on a monthly basis.

For the U.S. Senate, the Centrist Project is targeting Utah as one of its potential states. Recent polling conducted for the organization by JMC Analytics (March 18-20) found that just 21% of Utah voters support the reelection of incumbent Senator Orrin Hatch (R) and that a named potential independent candidate, Evan McMullin, would lead him head-to-head, 33%-29%.

Joel Searby, who most recently managed Evan McMullin’s independent presidential campaign, is the group’s new Senior Strategist and leading candidate recruitment. Searby has begun traveling the country to brief former elected officials, CEOs, celebrities, and other prominent figures.

On the state legislative level, the Centrist Project has hired a campaign team in Colorado and is partnering with independent organizations in Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico and Oregon.


The Centrist Project strategically recruits and supports centrist, independent candidates for office. For more information, visit

This group hits a lot of longtime UnParty themes. Peruse its website, and you’ll run across a lot of things you might suspect I wrote myself. Such as:

Government should be pragmatic. Solve problems. Rather than a rigid ideology, governance is a process. We ask: what’s the problem we’re trying to address, why isn’t the market fixing it, and what policy would produce a better outcome? What are the tradeoffs? Then, take appropriate action that makes us collectively better off than we are today.

I’m slightly disturbed, though, that this group that presumes to affect the national government doesn’t even mention international affairs, which of course is the main thing for which we have a national government. On its “principles” page, you find such headings as “Fiscal Responsibility” and “Economic Opportunity” and “Environmental Responsibilty.” I like the repeated use of the word “responsibility” (very Grownup Party), but I wonder that I find nothing even remotely like “Diplomacy,” “National Defense,” “Global Leadership,” or just “Foreign Affairs.”

In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking this is run by and for disaffected Democrats, who have such a habit of forgetting that international affairs are a thing.

Just a few basic lines about adhering to the post-1945 bipartisan consensus regarding America’s role in the world — which is as centrist a position as I can think of — would have been comforting.

But I am intrigued nonetheless…

13 thoughts on “This Centrist Project sounds intriguing

  1. bud

    This screed is noting but a collection of weasel words. Everyone professes to seek “pragmatic” solutions.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, they don’t. Republicans tout “conservative” approaches, Democrats go on about “progressive” ones (because Republicans have trained them not to say “liberal”). A pragmatist doesn’t care about whether solutions pass ideological tests…

  2. Bart

    I may have to agree with bud on this one. Reason? It started in San Francisco, California. ‘Nuff said!

  3. kp

    ”international affairs, which of course is the main thing for which we have a national government.”

    Wrong. The Preamble to the US Constitution lays out why a federal government was established:

    “…to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty….”

    Only “provide for the common defence” has a direct bearing on international affairs. And it certainly doesn’t stand above the others as the “main reason” the country needed a national government. The Framers who put together the Constitution were concerned primarily with what they saw as state governments out of control.

    Every country in the world is more concerned with domestic than international affairs – and their budgets reflect that. No reason we should be different.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, there’s a reason. The reason is that we ARE different.

      And yes, I was being hyperbolic to stress a point. The Articles of Confederation were a disaster domestically, and the Constitution was meant to address that, certainly.

      I was speaking more in the abstract. If you’re creating a federal government for a bunch of more or less sovereign states, what would be the first reason you’d want to do that? So you can relate to other nations as a nation.

      But even putting it your way, my point remains: You don’t state the aims of a NATIONAL party and leave out foreign affairs, especially if you’re a centrist, and not one of the isolationists of the left and right…

      1. Doug Ross

        “So you can relate to other nations as a nation.”

        Please define “relate”. Canada, Sweden, Brazil, and any pretty much any other country except Russia and Chine “relate” to other nations just fine without exerting their will and their military might upon them.

        I’d prefer a country that aspired to lead by example instead of by force.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Fortunately for you, that’s what we’ve always been. (Until maybe now, since Trump doesn’t believe in the principles that define the example.)

          Are you just deliberately ignoring everything I say? Which of those countries you mention started as “a bunch of more or less sovereign states,” needing a national government to define them as one nation among other nations?

          1. Doug Ross

            Why does that matter how the U.S. started? kp stated the objectives that were expressed by the framers and it wasn’t about being the world’s policeman. What we are now isn’t what they intended. They surely would have rejected any efforts to go into Vietnam or Iraq.

      2. bud

        You’re reaching pretty far to defend your own ideological brand. We can’t ignore other nations but foreign affairs can’t be regarded as the most important thing the federal government does. We have to be concerned first and foremost with domestic tranquility and prosperity. That would include keeping our environment clean and our citizenry safe from internal threats. To the extent that the environment and safety involves other nations then yes we need to reach out to them. Global warming, population control and disease eradication fall under this general goal. But to become entangled in overseas misadventures in large scale military operations really is outside the scope of what we should be doing as a nation.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, as I said to KP, I was being hyperbolic. I should avoid that.

          My point was this: You don’t lay out a vision for a movement seeking to play a role in the NATIONAL government without mentioning foreign affairs. You’ll note I said nothing against those other topics; I just complained that an essential one was being left out.

          Oh, and no one but you said anything about “to become entangled in overseas misadventures in large scale military operations…”

          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah, but when you mention foreign affairs we all know its really about what we do militarily.

            It’s like when Colonel Sanders talks about dinner, we know he’s talking about fried chicken.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Actually not. It’s just that since that’s the part y’all object to the most, that’s all you hear. For my part, I’m also thinking about the mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans, and iced tea.

              Of course, I can’t eat any of it but the green beans, so bad analogy…

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