INDIANAPOLIS – A new PAC, ReCenter Indiana, was recently formed to increase the focus on Indiana politics. Don Knebel is the President of the PAC.
“The people who run are the people who think they can be advocacy-supported and we want to make sure people who aren’t advocacy-supported know that there is someone supporting them,” said gag.
This comes at a time when Americans are increasingly frustrated with their political options. A Gallup poll last year shows that 62% of Americans believe a third party is necessary. This is the highest value that has ever existed.
“One side leans one way and the other leans the other way, and I think there should be a median,” said Mark Robinson of Indianapolis.
Michael Wolf is Acting Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics in Purdue Fort Wayne. He says that nowadays people are becoming more and more extreme, but the majority of people still have moderate views.
“Not everyone wants moderation. But at some point there’s a critical mass of Americans who are genuinely more moderate than their politicians, and there’s a disconnect in representation,” Wolf said.
This separation worries Knebel very much.
“They will stop coming and voting if they don’t feel represented,” Wolf said.
That’s why he feels he’s fighting not just for moderation, but for democracy. According to Ipsos, 64% of Americans believe their democracy is in crisis and threatened with failure.
“Politics has ever created a huge divide in every community. It got too extreme and just too big,” said Helios Jacobs, who lives in Indianapolis.
“They are fed up with our parties, they are fed up with our system and they think something has to change,” Knebel said. “We are trying to stop the threat to democracy. Whether that’s such a great idea that we shouldn’t have it, we have it.”
ReCenter Indiana is non-partisan. The board is composed of members from many parties, including independents. The PAC’s charter prohibits any political party from gaining a majority on the board. The group will support candidates from each party who reflect their views.
The PAC will focus its efforts on candidates who respect the democratic debate and compromise process.
Moderate candidates have fought in the primaries in the past. Wolf says primary races can be inundated with special interest money. These groups tend to favor candidates from the political extremes. It can be daunting for new candidates trying to enter the arena.
In addition, it is rather extreme voters who typically vote in the primaries.
Voter turnout in primary elections is generally low. Only 14% of voters nationwide cast their ballots that year.
“The ideological extremity tends to be more motivating, so it’s difficult to get a moderate to be a moderation extremist,” Wolf said.
ReCenter Indiana hopes to break the cycle by supporting and recruiting moderate candidates. They also plan to work to get moderate voters to vote.
The group’s website only launched on Thursday, but it’s in full swing. It is already planning to study two races this November: House District 25 and the Secretary of State’s race.
Both District 25 candidates are new to politics and this could be an opportunity to engage with them before more extreme special interests get involved.
Knebel says the race for the post of foreign secretary overseeing the election is too important to ignore.
As the group gets underway, Knebel says there isn’t a comparable group in the whole country.
“I get calls from other states. I got a call from someone in Maine wanting to know why we don’t have a Recenter Maine,” Knebel said. “I received an email from someone in Oregon saying we should have a ReCenter America. So we actually registered the domain name ‘ReCenter America’.”
Right now the group is concentrating on November in Indiana. But the group is in it for the long haul.
“People my age, we’re not doing this for ourselves, we’re doing it for our grandkids,” Knebel said. “It might not be that choice. It may not be the next five elections, but we hope we can change the way people approach the political process. We believe we have the right ideas, we have the right people.” , we have the right people on our side. We believe it will work.”
Visit the ReCenter Indiana website for more information on how to get involved.