Third Way Encourages Centrist Allies to Embrace Opportunity 2020

June 18, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – Third Way, the centrist Democratic think-tank based in Washington, D.C., took its message to Charleston, South Carolina Monday and Tuesday, rallying its supporters and bolstering its efforts to keep the party from veering too far left ahead of the 2020 election.

Though the organizers of the Opportunity 2020 event did not invite presidential candidates to participate, presidential politics is very much in the air this week in South Carolina, where Democrats will hold their annual state convention next Saturday.

Instead the crowd of several hundred gathered in Charleston included elected officials, consultants, strategists and pollsters, all intent on talking not about pipedreams, but kitchen table issues such as good jobs that are too scarce, health care costs that are too high, and a future that is uncertain for too many Americans.

“It’s about building an economy and a community,” said former Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota Tuesday afternoon.

“Republicans are taking rural communities for granted. Among the questions they should be asking is ‘How do we keep churches open and a local basketball team thriving that drive pride in their towns?’

“Republicans never ask those kinds of questions,” she said.

Later Heitkamp told the large crowd gathered to hear her that what small business owners in rural North Dakota want is no different from what the cab driver in New York wants.

“They want opportunity for themselves and their kids, safe communities, and health care they can count on,” she said.

Taking aim at the progressive wing of the party that is courting young voters, by, among other things, promising them free college, Heitkamp told her fellow centrist Democrats “We need an economic message … and it can’t be about free stuff.”

Representative Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., told attendees that “the loudest voices are not necessarily representative of the people who are working two or three jobs and trying to raise their families.

“We should be making moral and economic arguments so people hear their values and priorities,” she said.

‏Later, appearing onstage with Representative Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., the two agreed that at the end of the day candidates need to represent their constituents – and understand and represent the needs of their districts.”

In an interview with the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper, Matt Bennett, a co-founder of Third Way, said the choice of Charleston for the group’s 2019 session was no coincidence.

“We wanted to be in one of the first four states, but our view is that South Carolina in some ways is vitally important in its own right because it’s the first primary that involves a diverse electorate,” Bennett said.

And diversity ruled during the two-day event, where participants spoke on a wide range of issues ranging from basic civil rights to improving the quality of public education.

Offstage and in the hallways, many people also talked about Third Way’s recently launched Twitter initiative to divert voters’ attention from the leftist activists who dominate the social media platform.

“Checking Twitter might be a quick way to tune into the political conversation, but it’s probably warping your sense of the electorate,” the group said in one recent tweet.

“Playing to the far left on Twitter is a surefire way to leave moderate & independent voters at home on election day,” it said in another.

Third Way is targeting roughly 10,000 influencers on the platform by promoting paid content that aims to change the progressive chatter to centrist dialogue ahead of 2020.

“We don’t want to cede the digital conversation to the far left,” Matt Bennett said.

2020 Elections

Mulling Presidential Run, Mark Sanford Says Government’s Precarious Finances Are Nation’s Biggest Threat Political News
Mulling Presidential Run, Mark Sanford Says Government’s Precarious Finances Are Nation’s Biggest Threat
August 16, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Back home in South Carolina after a mid-week trip to New Hampshire, former Rep. Mark Sanford said Friday he was pleased with how things went in the Granite State and his decision on whether to mount a primary challenge against President Trump will be... Read More

In Suburban Texas, ‘It Feels Like There’s No Place for Lifelong Republicans Like Me’ Political News
In Suburban Texas, ‘It Feels Like There’s No Place for Lifelong Republicans Like Me’

COLLEYVILLE, Texas — Vanessa Steinkamp is the kind of voter that Texas Republicans counted on. She’s a devoted conservative who volunteered for Bob Dole’s presidential campaign, interned for former GOP Sen. Bill Frist and lives in an affluent suburb between Fort Worth and Dallas that is... Read More

Trump, Battered In New Poll, Says 'Love Me Or Hate Me' You Have to Vote For Me Political News
Trump, Battered In New Poll, Says 'Love Me Or Hate Me' You Have to Vote For Me
August 16, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - With polls suggesting his disapproval rating is near an all-time high, President Donald Trump told attendees at a boisterous New Hampshire campaign rally Thursday night they had to vote for him "whether you love me or hate me." A Fox News survey on Wednesday... Read More

All Those Presidential Promises? Democrats Better Win The Senate Too 2020 Elections
All Those Presidential Promises? Democrats Better Win The Senate Too

The Democrats running for president are promising the sun, the stars and a full moon to boot. Elect me, they say, and I’ll deliver high-quality healthcare for all. Affordable college. A tax system that rewards hard work and not just the well-off and well-connected. And on.... Read More

States Struggle To Update Election Systems Ahead of 2020 Elections
States Struggle To Update Election Systems Ahead of 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. states operating outdated and insecure voting machines face major hurdles in protecting them in time for the 2020 presidential election, officials said at a meeting of elections experts. Budgets are strained, decision-making authority is diffused and standards put in place years ago haven’t... Read More

Hickenlooper Ends Presidential Bid With An Eye Toward U.S. Senate Seat Political News
Hickenlooper Ends Presidential Bid With An Eye Toward U.S. Senate Seat
August 15, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, fueling speculation that he will now set his sights on a U.S. Senate bid. Hickenlooper, 67, ran as a moderate, but never made any headway in a crowded... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top