The following excerpt from my latest post illustrates well why I created The Pragmatic Politico in December 2016:
“It has been said that a political centrist is disgusted equally by ideological hardliners such as Elizabeth Warren and Ted Cruz. Many should pass this test. Unfortunately, as Chuck Todd outlined last month, over the past two decades the “center” of American politics has been “hollowed out”, with the American electorate increasingly divided into these two hard-line ideological camps. According to Todd’s data, the ideological overlap of the general public has fallen from 33% in 1994 to just 7% in 2014; while from 2002 to 2013, the ideological overlap in the House and Senate has fallen from 137 and 4 to 7 and 0.
“Todd cites the advent of “micro targeting” by political campaigns as the primary culprit. Respectfully, I disagree, as I believe there is a far bigger force at work: A social media tsunami that was launched by Facebook in 2004, accelerated by Twitter in 2006, and fully unleashed by Apple’s iPhone in 2007. The Facebook/Twitter/iPhone triumvirate has allowed American (and global) citizens to curate political commentary highly customized to their ideological preferences, thus hardening partisan beliefs. It is only human nature to seek like-minded crowds; social media simply made it infinitely more convenient. “Micro targeting” merely rode the wave.
“While in the aggregate the positives of social media appear to outweigh the negatives, for political discourse social media is quite toxic, as faceless communication elicits boldness otherwise not present around the family dinner table or the corporate water cooler. Early on in life we are taught to share on the playground, put the team above self in sports, and work as a group in school projects, all of which require face-to-face interaction and collaboration. By relearning these early-life principles, I firmly believe that upwards of 75% of the American electorate can and should come to an operational agreement on the vast majority of “partisan” political issues.”
As an investment professional and a political Independent, I believe I am in good position to make at least a small contribution toward restoring the “center” of the American politics. With the aspirational goal of developing an Independent political platform over time, The Pragmatic Politico is my personal contribution.