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ETpro's avatar

The USA: A center left, center right or just plain centrist country?

Asked by ETpro (34216 points ) February 4th, 2013

Consider the evidence offered in “America Is Not a Center-Right Nation (Nor Center-Left)” by John A Ferrell, a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report. And here’s a chart showing the trend in registration as Democrat, Republican or Independent over the past 20 years. So setting all the constant propaganda aside, what conclusion do the actual facts lead us to? Is America center left, center right or pretty much in the middle?

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19 Answers

ucme's avatar

You forgot the pelvic thrust ;¬}

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Center left with a small group of raging right wing nuts. ( I should know better than answer questions like this.)

ragingloli's avatar

Right wing.
Quite a distance away from the centre.

rojo's avatar

I think a lot of it has to do with your geographic location.
Here in central Texas we most definitely have a right-right slant to our politics. Although I would say that the majority of the population are more center-right.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@ucme – it really drives you insaa-aaa-aa-ne.

From where I stand (and clearly the definitions of the terms are different in Europe and the US), it is both, and neither.

The issue is that the nation itself is split into three; West coast, East coast and Crazy.

ucme's avatar

@the100thmonkey Nice catch man!

Linda_Owl's avatar

I think that America would like to be a Centrist nation, but as long as the Republicans insist on their point of view (exclusively) – America will never be a Centrist nation.

ETpro's avatar

@ucme & @ragingloli As @the100thmonkey notes, I should have been specific about the point of observation. To anyone in most of the industrialized world outside the USA, most Americans are well to the right of politics in their locale. But as I just wrote in this thread “when most Americans hear ‘The USA is a center right country.’ they aren’t comparing it to other developed nations around the world, they think it means that way more Americans agree with the Republican right than the Democratic progressive/left.”

@Adirondackwannabe I totally agree so long as we define the frame of reference as what’s viewed as centrist here in the USA as opposed to what’s right-wing and left-wing here today.

@rojo Just one more example of why the location of the observer is as important in political analysis as in General and Special Relativity.

@Linda_Owl If we get wise to the small minority that the loudest represent, then their influence diminishes regardless of how loudly they trumpet their “truth”.

Jaxk's avatar

Politicians are a lot like used car salesmen. They promise you what you want and try to make thier deal sound better than the other guy. It would be risky to assume that the guy that sells the most cars offers the best deals. He’s simply a better salesman.

Most people don’t want government in every aspect of thier daily lives but they do want government to protect them. So where is the line. Many of you have already noted the difference between European ‘left-right’ and American. That distinction is slowly disappearing. It happens so slow that most don’t see it. Our country was founded on the idea that America would be a small government country. That attracted people from all around the world to come here. Not so much anymore because the distinction is dwindling. When people are asked whether they are conservative, liberal, or moderate, conservative is the largest group. 40% conservative 35% moderate, and 21% liberal. That’s based on ideology not party. You can be conservative and democrat or liberal and Republican. The political party is based on issues and platforms while ideology is more personal belief. Ideology takes the car salesman out of it.

So to answer the question, America is a center right country. Neither party is a center right party.

wundayatta's avatar

Relative to what?

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Great points. The only exception I take is claiming that the majority of Americans are conservative. 40% is well under 51%. The majority are probably the 35% who are centrist independents plus perhaps half of the conservatives and liberals who are not the fringe element of either of those positions.

I also note that while America is slowly moving toward a more European style democracy, Europe and Asia are moving toward the ideals most Americans hold. So it’s a very fluid situation and while the majority of Americans 30 and under are substantially more liberal than Boomers, the majority of that same demographic in the rest of the developed world is probably more conservative than the post WWII generation.

@wundayatta As numerous posters have noted, I should have included an explanation of context in the question details. Too late for editing now, though. I meant relative to actual political beliefs of the American people, but it’s very interesting to expand the focus to the industrialized world as well. So take your pick, just say which context you’re commenting on.

wundayatta's avatar

Actually, my point was a metapoint. If it is relative to the US, then the center is the center, and, by definition, the US as a whole is at the center, since the center is the average of all in the US.

If you compare us to the rest of the world, we are far right wing. There would be very few nations to our right.

If you want to compare us to the political parties, then I’d have to say left of center, since Democrats won. Although frankly, the Democrats are much different from Republicans in terms of policies I’m interested in. So if you compare Americans to me, you’d find most of them to be very right wing.

flutherother's avatar

Very right wing. Extremely right wing by European standards.

burntbonez's avatar

I agree. Stupendously right wing. It’s very scary.

woodcutter's avatar

Pretty much centrist. About a hundred million people are on Medicare and Medicaid as of 2006. Seems like socialized medicine to me.

RandomGirl's avatar

Depends on your geographical location and your media habits. Many of my extreme right-wing friends (with whom I agree on most issues, just not their media habits and refusal to listen to the other side) say things very similar to @burntbonez’ comment. I have a feeling there is a plethora of people who are like this on both sides, and most of them because they’re just too lazy to read/watch/listen to the other side, since they’re convinced of what they believe.

Notice how presidential elections always come down to a minute percentage? That’s because we’re basically split down the middle. Society tends to do that, no matter where you are.

Here in Minnesota, though, we seem to be saturated with liberals. A Republican – not even Reagan – hasn’t won MN in 80 years, I think the number was.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I agree with @ragingloli. Look at it from the outside and it is extreme right in foreign policy (preemptive wars, rendition for the purposes of torture, etc., etc.,) and in the way the American people are treated (highest percentage of incarceration per population in the world, among the poorest in education of the developed countries, poor ranking in health care, and a new national health care insurance plan designed to fail miserably so the citizenry will never demand national health care ever again). Not too good for the richest country in the world. The rest of the world’s middle class wonders why the Americans put up with it. America is seen by many as a punitive society. More stick than carrot. If people are treated like animals, they will behave like animals and result in America is higher levels of violent crime compared to other developed nations. .

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Etc., etc., = The American government also meddles. It skews foreign elections, still props up small despots, and sabatages governments it considers too far left.

Paradox25's avatar

Very far right in rural areas like mine, or maybe those folks are just the loudest. There was a bumper sticker on a large pick-up truck that surprised me on my way home from work this morning which said Obama: born and made in the USA. This is a very rare site in my neck of the woods, but I loved it. LMFAO

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