Politics: We Look At Movement To The Middle
Monday, April 30, 2012
Aired 4/30/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Scott Dickey - CEO, Competitor Group Inc., member of Movement to the Middle
Ron King, SDSU Political Science Professor
Special Feature San Diego Mayor's Race
Special Feature Election 2012 Voter Guide
Special Feature KPBS Election Coverage
More than 1,000 people have signed a declaration to put aside political party loyalty with the new group Movement to the Middle, according to one of the group's organizers.
Movement to the Middle was started last week when a group of San Diego business leaders denounced their party affiliations and reregistered as independents. They were following the lead of state Assemblyman and mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, who quit the Republican Party earlier this month.
Scott Dickey, CEO of Competitor Group, Inc., was one of those business leaders. He told KPBS he's been a "life long Republican," but was inspired by Fletcher's "bold move."
Dickey said he's known Fletcher for more than 10 years and they have talked repeatedly over that time about the "dysfunctional nature of a two-party system" and how Democrats and Republicans seem to be moving "further and further to the fringe."
But Ron King, a San Diego State University political science professor, said Fletcher's move also says something about the nature of political strategy.
"For more than 50 years, political scientists have said that the politician who moves to the middle, who stands for the median voter, has a much greater chance of winning an election than a politician who doesn't stand for the median voter," King said.
King also said that although voters may register as independents, they usually show their party alliances through their political positions. By doing surveys, King said he can sort independents into Democrats and Republicans with 95 percent probability.
But Dickey said that Movement to the Middle is growing. In addition to the thousand voters who have signed its declaration, he said more than 60 business leaders how now also climbed on board.
"We know we've struck a chord," he said. "The alienated majority is going to awaken in this election, and we're going to bring more people to the polls in this primary, and we're going to see the results on June 6."