The most interesting thing about the election was the way in which what are essentially two moderate Republican candidates managed to dupe millions into thinking this was some kind of Eastern Front existential showdown between fascism and communism.
Men who refer to themselves as ‘moderate’ or ‘centrist’ score basically the same on values and opinions as people who identify themselves as ‘conservative’
During an appearance on The View in June, former second lady Dr Jill Biden argued that as “a moderate,” her husband could sway voters who would have otherwise voted for Donald Trump. “When I was out there on the trail, a lot of people came up to me said, ‘Jill, I’m a Republican, but I’m going to vote for your husband because he’s a moderate,’” she added.
She’s not the only one valorizing the moderate nature of the former Vice President. In an August 13th column in the New York Times, David Brooks argued that the moderate “forces that brought Joe Biden the nomination are far more powerful than a few extremists in Portland and even the leftist illiberals on campus,” adding, “If you look at who actually leads change over the course of American history, it’s not the radicals. At a certain point, radicals give way to the more prudent and moderate wings of their coalitions.”
Others aren’t so sure that political moderatism is a virtue. When it comes to addressing climate change, Eric Levitz of New York Magazine argued that “a major [obstacle] is the tendency of moderate Democrats to mistake their own myopic complacency for heroic prudence”.