Independent Nation

Independent Nation
How Centrists Can Change American Politics

by John P. Avlon

independent_pbFifty percent of American voters define themselves as political moderates, two-thirds favor political solutions that come from the center of the political spectrum, and Independents outnumber both Democrats and Republicans. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush each explicitly used Centrist strategies to win the White House — and twenty-first-century candidates will be compelled to do the same.

Independent Nation documents the rich history of the defining political movement of our time. Organized as a series of short and colorful political biographies, it offers an insightful and engaging analysis of the successes and failures of key Centrist leaders throughout the twentieth century. In the process, it demonstrates that Centrism is not only a winning political strategy but an enlightened governing philosophy that best reflects the will of the people by putting patriotism ahead of partisanship and the national interest ahead of special interests.

Buy Book


“Throughout my years in Congress, I have been guided by a simple philosophy -– to make government work. The most effective brand of politics forms center-out coalitions over rigid party ideology or cynical political maneuvering. Lately though, extreme partisanship and an ‘all-or-nothing attitude’ seem to define the culture of Washington. Independent Nation lays out the history and heritage of centrist politics, starting with the Founding Father’s deep distrust of partisanship along side the story of some of this century’s leading and best known centrists. Like it or not, the future of American politics is in the vast center. Read John Avlon’s Independent Nation –- it’s an excellent reminder that some of our best leaders have also been our most mainstream.”

—Senator John Breaux [Democrat, Louisiana]

“Effective leadership requires independence and courage to look beyond partisan politics for the best solution. John P. Avlon’s Independent Nation details the history of principled political leaders who fearlessly took on special interests from both the left and right in defense of national interest. It offers much-needed historic perspective on our pursuit of a more civil society.”

—Rudolph W. Giuliani [Republican, New York]

“Into the prevailing winds of political wisdom sails New York Sun columnist

John P. Avlon with Independent Nation, a brave and compelling case for the

past persistence and future dominance of American Centrism.”

—Ed Kilgore, Policy Director of the Democratic Leadership Council

“A rewarding portrait of a political trend the established parties have tried to ignore.”


“The essay-size bios . . . are very revealing, instructive, and full of new insights about stories we thought we already knew . . . The author makes a good point when he suggests that political parties should be able to bridge various policies that would appear to be perfect fits . . .”


“Author John Avlon has made a significant contribution to the ranks of literature covering the middle of ideological thought.”


“A compelling distillation of recent political history through the prism of

centrist politics. It’s well written and fun to read… and its timing couldn’t be better.”

—New York Post

“To Avlon centrism is not a matter of compromise or reading polls; rather it’s an antidote to the politics of divisiveness, providing principled opposition to political extremes. His description of Maine Republican senator Margaret Chase Smith’s morally and politically courageous Senate speech rejecting McCarthyism four years before the Senate censured him embodies Avlon’s view of centrism, and he uses that example to demonstrate the value of centrists like Smith to the body politic. Perhaps the most remarkable achievement he describes was that of Earl Warren, who in 1946 ran for governor of California in the Republican, Democratic and Progressive primaries — and won all three. Avlon’s centrist tent is a large one: the political campaigns of presidents as diverse as Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, JFK, Nixon and Clinton are chronicled to demonstrate the staying power and effectiveness of centrist politics.”

—Publishers Weekly

“John Avlon presented his book on C-Span Book TV (April 2004) He is a wise young man with good political instincts and a solid sense of what it means to be an independent centrist. Indeed, that is where the majority of Americans reside. He hit the mark time and time again, correctly concluding that centrists (moderates) are about ‘the reconciliation of competing interests.'”