In a move he's been promising for a while, Chris Vance has launched a new centrist political project in Washington.
Vance is the former Washington State Republican Party Chairman who has been making the media rounds for more than a year now playing heroic anti-Trump Republican. Vance finally admitted recently on KUOW that he doesn't actually consider himself a Republican anymore, though he says he's not a Democrat either. So, he's starting something else. Vance and former Democratic Congressman Brian Baird launched Washington Independents on Thursday, promising "the centrist movement that people have been waiting for."
I don't hate myself enough to go to that press conference, but the Seattle Times' Jim Brunner was there and has all the details on the "sparsely attended" announcement. You can also watch the whole thing here, courtesy of KING 5.
Vance told reporters the group has raised a "few thousand" dollars locally, received a $10,000 donation from the national group, and plans to fundraise. The group promises to help elect independent candidates through fundraising and volunteering. Backing centrist candidates will work best in districts "where one party or the other has given up," Vance said, so an independent can make it through Washington's top-two primary.
Vance said the group is for "those of us don't want to follow the leadership of either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders." (Note to Chris: Bernie Sanders lost.) Baird, who represented southwestern Washington in Congress for a decade, said Democratic Party leadership has "grown increasingly out of touch with the general public, particularly with younger voters."
Young voters may be disillusioned with the Democratic Party, but it doesn't seem like that's because we want it to be more centrist. Quite the opposite. While there may be room for a new party in the middle, many of the people in the parties that already exist belong there too.
But anyway, back to Washington Independents. The group is linked to a national group called the Centrist Project. And what does the Centrist Project stand for? Nothing at all, it appears.
Here's the final line in their press release: "While this new movement has no rigid litmus tests, a general statement of principles can be found here."
That takes you to this, the group's set of "common-sense principles." Those include: "fiscal responsibility" ("respecting our markets; promoting responsible free trade"), "economic opportunity" ("We believe the role of government is to create an environment in which the private sector can thrive; to provide a meaningful safety net..."), "social tolerance," and "environmental responsibility." Key also in their messaging, it appears, is the principle of "solving problems."
"Sometimes we must set aside ideological purity if it leads to achieving things that are broadly consistent with our views."
Finally, the bold movement we've been waiting for.