LARAMIE — Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyoming, joined two of his congressional allies on the University of Wyoming’s campus Tuesday for a wide-ranging discussion in which all three men decried the decline of centrism in Washington in favor of the “rigidity of party politics.”
The panel discussion at UW’s American Heritage Center was advertised as a discussion about the balance of power between Congress and the presidency. Instead, much of the discussion inevitably drifted to two of Simpson’s favorite political topics: Civility and political compromise.
Laramie resident Lorraine Saulino-Klein, who ran as a Democrat for the Wyoming House last year, asked Simpson for advice on how constituents could end the era of “compromise being a dirty word.”
The ex-senator urged moderate, open-minded people to become bigger players in local political parties.
Simpson recounted how he became a precinct-man in his early 20s, working his way up the political ladder. Too often, he said, the political parties produce candidates that are more extreme in their positions than their constituents.
If more centrists became involved in their local political parties, they too would likely eventually earn the clout to run for Congress.
“I’m worried that, in the long run, it’s the fringes in Congress that dominate the conversation,” Simpson said.
Commenting on recent political debates, Simpson decried both the ideological rigidity of the House Freedom Caucus and liberal congresspeople like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, a freshman representative.
By Daniel Bendtsen
Laramie Boomerang Via Wyoming News Exchange