The power of centrism as a political force comes from the fact that it’s not so much an ideology as an ambient mood. It’s the shared common sense of the elite, a set of axioms about the goodness of bipartisanship, deficit reduction, and military spending. Those who adhere to it take it so for granted that they don’t feel the need to even defend it.

Part of the achievement of Luke Savage’s new book The Dead Center is that it makes us see the almost-invisible ideology of centrism and its pervasive ability to roadblock progress. A staff writer at Jacobin and cohost of the Michael and Us podcast, Luke is also a delightful guest on this episode of The Time of Monsters, as we survey the trajectory of centrism from Bill Clinton to Joe Biden.

Subscribe to The Nation to support all of our podcasts: