Trump, San Francisco and the meaninglessness of 'moderate' politics

There is no such thing as a moderate ideology

stock photo image of the golden gate bridge
Silicon Valley 'moderates' are lining up behind authoritarian Trump. Photo by sally crierie / Unsplash

At FrameLab, we have often written about how words such as "moderate" and "centrist" are political weasel words with no clear meanings. As Dr. George Lakoff wrote in "The Political Mind":

There is no ideology of the "moderate" – no set of views held by all moderates. There is no single set of policies that defines a "middle."

Despite this general lack of definition, the term continues to be a mainstay in politics. Case in point: San Francisco, where an increasingly right-wing group of Silicon Valley figures is funding "moderate" Democrats in a campaign against progressive Democrats.

I write about this strange dynamic in a short essay published today in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 2021, billionaire tech executive Chamath Palahapitiya briefly considered running for California governor on a moderate-sounding platform of low taxes and school reform. This week, the former Democratic Party megadonor will co-host a fundraiser for convicted felon Donald Trump in Pacific Heights.
In reality, Palahapitiya was neither moderate nor a believer in Democratic Party values. He was a zealot clothed in vaguely centrist branding that obscured a politics so extreme that he’s all-in for Trump 2024. And he’s not the only Silicon Valley plutocrat masking himself with bland labeling.

Please read the whole thing at this gift link: "Trump's San Francisco visit is a case study in the meaninglessness of 'moderate' politics."


Later this week, Dr. Lakoff and I will publish a fuller analysis of the issue. Below are some past FrameLab pieces on the topic. Thanks for reading!

Why Andrew Yang’s backward ‘moderate party’ is doomed to fail
Not left. Not right. Nowhere.
Where’s the middle ground between authoritarianism and democracy?
Media establishment’s search for the mythical “moderate” endangers freedom
The Political Mind by George Lakoff: 9780143115687 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books
A groundbreaking scientific examination of the way our brains understand politics from a New York Times bestselling author One of the world ’s best-known linguists and cognitive scientists, George Lakoff…

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