What Does It Mean To Be A Moderate Conservative?


The Missing Faction of Moderate Conservatism in Present Day Politics

To be moderate, within the field of politics and religion, simply means that an individual chooses to remain partisan (and not radical) on issues that the general public may debate or hold strong feelings about. A moderate conservative is an individual who considers themselves fiscally conservative but is anywhere from centrist to liberal on social issues. The two, current political parties in the United States that monopolize voting ballots are the mainstream Republicans and the Democrats. Moderate conservatism, as well as liberal conservatives, fall victim to the voting process each year, as the missing faction or “middle ground” between both parties, often goes unaccounted for.

The decision between the left and the right prevents a large majority of the population from voting with confidence and personal satisfaction. Moderate conservatism has been called a “party of the past,” once referred to as the Rockefeller Republican, but to which extent can the government or staunch left and right “wingers” control a moderate’s internal belief system between such vastly conflicting subject matters that include foreign policy, national security, environmental protection, social equality, and use of the economy’s finite resources and funds?

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Social Issues:

On the spectrum of social issues, moderate conservatives typically fall between the subcategories of centrist to liberal. At this point in the article, the aim is to avoid generalization with honest intention but for discussion sake, we approach the following social topics with the majority consensus amongst moderate conservatives. Most moderates support the legalization of marijuana, same-sex marriage and adoption, stem cell research, and lowering the legal drinking age to 18 for those enlisted in the military. When choosing to be pro-life or pro-choice, the majority of moderate conservatives fall under the category of pro-choice. However, this does not come without its restrictions.

Abortion is a necessary medical advancement that should be accessed only within the first trimester of a pregnancy, if the expecting mother came to be pregnant at the hands of an abuser, or if the pregnant female’s life is in jeopardy. In terms of gun control, the average moderate would agree that lawful regulations and background checks should be required for an individual who wishes to own a gun. Global warming is a proven science and yes, this is coming from the moderate conservative perspective. In this particular faction, though, environmental awareness should not plummet an already struggling economy. Emission restriction and environmental regulation are obvious strives to care for the environment and for the time being, it should be reasonable.


Foreign Policy Issues:

A moderate conservative is more likely to lean right than left when considering their personal views on foreign policy. While there are a few moderate conservatives who would object to the interventionist approach of foreign policy, the majority are staunch supporters. The idea that the United States promotes democracy, intervenes where they see fit, and chooses to do so based on high moral standing is essential to the conservative belief. In the case of the average conservative, this ideology is crucial to homeland security and multilateralism within the globe. An active international policy, which is a controversial subject matter in American politics, is dramatically supported by moderate conservatives.

In terms of military spending, there is much to be argued. One-half of the moderate faction is opposed to the increase in military-industrial complex funding, while the other half believes that it is a necessary cost in the name of national security. Those moderate conservatives who argue that multilateralism accommodated by low military spending are essential to balancing the country’s economy may be liberal conservatives. Moderate conservatives who support high-cost military spending and the interventionist approach are neoconservatives.


Moderate conservatives are frequently questioned on their stance towards immigration policy. While the faction does support the idea of reformed and less severe immigration policies, there is a strong belief that screening, background checks, and the path to citizenship should remain closely monitored. How does this differ from the current enforcement laws that plague the illegal immigrants and refugees seeking to make the United States their current home? Because a true, moderate conservative supports the creation and development of infrastructures temporarily designated specifically for those who enter the country; otherwise known as “sanctuary cities.” The goal of immigration policy isn’t to turn civilians in need away – it is to accept them while we introduce one another into a system where both parties intend to prosper fairly and legally.


Economic Issues:

To be completely honest, the average moderate will tell you that they often find themselves confused as to where they stand economically. The reason for this, is because the economy is always changing. The one thing that the faction is sure of – growth. Moderate conservatives believe in growth. At the foundation of this belief lies the following key elements: low tax rates, reduced regulations on businesses, and to some extent, free trade. Moderates are more attracted to the type of politician who wants to see a decreased deficit and lower standing debt. Without question, it is the United States’ responsibility to set a positive example and donate government funding to projects that benefit international communities. However, as Americans, the average moderate can’t ignore that it would be fiscally irresponsible to allow their future children and grandchildren to grow up in a country that is burdened by a substantial amount of debt.

Moderates would prefer to see more tax cuts that would alleviate the stress on those who work minimum wage jobs. In return, the companies with lower tax rates who supply the standard minimum wage, would have more flexibility when it comes to paying their employees. A moderate conservative isn’t typically concerned or offended by a millionaire’s wealth. The idea that a person should live in a society and earn a fair portion of what they keep may have its gray areas, but seems more than fair when you consider the need to finance your own life and the extent to which you work.


Known Moderate Republicans:

There are more moderate conservatives in service (past and present) to the United States government than the general public realizes: Condoleeza Rice, John McCain, Susan Collins, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, Lindsey Graham, Rudy Giuliani, Christie Todd Whitman, and even the tall man in charge, Abraham Lincoln was a moderate. Michelle Diggles and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky are Third Way Officials who provided their insight to The Atlantic, regarding the moderate conservative mindset and how it processes during a time of electoral politics; “Moderates wrestle with, and often reject, what they see as the false either/or ideological choices that define modern politics. They recognize that both sides have a piece of the truth and see flaws in the standard liberal and conservative perspectives.”