The New ‘Deplorables’: Centrists

By Kent R. Kroeger (June 10, 2019)

Photo by Jim Young (Reuters)

Centrists are not necessarily moderates

Some definitional clarity will help before we move forward. Centrists are not necessarily Moderates. The center is a relative concept. By definition, there is always a center point in a one- or multidimensional distribution. There may not be a lot of voters in the center, but there is still a center. On the other hand, being a ‘moderate’ is a self-description of where people put themselves on an ideological scale. In this essay, for the most part, I use the term ‘center’ or ‘centrist’ to indicate the relative positions of voters within an ideological distribution of all voters.

Centrists are the new ‘deplorables’

It is a sentence that will follow Hillary Clinton to the grave: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’”

The Democrats have learned nothing from 2016

Clinton’s ‘anti-deplorable’ rally cry has morphed into an even worse ‘anti-centrist’ approach within the Democrats’ most progressive wing. New York magazine’s Eric Levitz wrote soon after the 2016 election that the Democrats don’t need to appeal to the center because “the center no longer exists.”

Courtesy of Sally Hunt (@sallybhunt)

Is mobilizing progressives enough?

A recent article by GQ’s Alex Kotch offers a nice counterpose to Ghitza’s research and the centrist strategy. Using survey data, Kotch argues the Democrats would have won in 2016 had they just convinced more of their progressive base to vote.

Centrists don’t necessarily prefer centrist candidates

Suggesting the Democrats are less likely to win in 2020 without support from centrist and moderate voters may sound like a sellout to the Democrats’ corporatist wing, but it is more like a bland truism.

I am a survey and statistical consultant with over 30 -years experience measuring and analyzing public opinion (You can contact me at:

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