A Niskanen Center Conference on Monday, February 25, featuring: 

Welcoming Address from:

David Brooks, New York Times columnist and author

Keynote speech by:

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Panelists include:

Andrew Sullivan
Elaine Kamarck
Margaret Hoover
Yascha Mounk

Please reserve your place at the conference here.

Event Transcripts and Recordings

Introductory Remarks by David Brooks

Panel 1: “Why Isn’t the Center Holding?”

Panel 2: “Moderation as a Political Strategy: What Are the Lessons from History?”

Panel 3: “Is Moderation a Coherent Answer to Present Problems?”

Keynote Address by Tony Blair

Event Livestream

Note: Due to internet lags, there may be delays and pauses in these videos.

David Brooks’s Introductory Remarks and Panel 1

Panels 2, 3, and Tony Blair’s Keynote and Interview with Jerry Taylor

Event Description

WHEN: February 25, 2019
WHERE: The Spire (750 First Street NE, Washington DC)

All around the world, the forces of the center-right and center-left are losing ground to the extremes. In the United States, the Republican Party has fallen prey to both Donald Trump’s resentful populism and the plutocratic designs of the party’s donor class. At the same time, increasing numbers of Democrats are drawn to oppositional identity politics and vaguely defined ideas of democratic socialism. The Niskanen Center believes that the best way to counter the false promises of populism, ideological rigidity, and the toxic brew of hyperpartisan extremism is to develop a new politics of pragmatism and moderation.

We invite you to attend an important public discussion and analysis of this new political approach. The conference on “Beyond Left and Right: Reviving Moderation in an Era of Crisis and Extremism” will take place on Monday, February 25, 2019. Registration will begin at 8:30 AM and lunch will be provided.

This one-day conference will feature discussions with some of the most renowned thinkers and activists on both the center-right and center-left. The panels will explore the viability of moderation as an alternative to current political dysfunction, analyze why the forces of partisan identity and social polarization have frustrated past efforts at moderate reform, and advance a model of principled moderation that rejects the shibboleths of both left and right while avoiding the tepid mush of compromise for compromise’s sake.

Conference Agenda

Welcoming address (9:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.)

David Brooks, New York Times columnist and author

Keynote speech (3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair


“Why Isn’t the Center Holding?”(9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)
Brink Lindsey, Niskanen Center (Moderator)
Frances Lee, University of Maryland
Martin Gurri, author of The Revolt of the Public
Margaret Hoover, host of PBS’s Firing Line

“What Are the Lessons from History?” (11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
Will Wilkinson, Niskanen Center (Moderator)
Panelists: Elaine Kamarck, Brookings Institution
Damon Linker, senior correspondent for The Week
Yascha Mounk, Johns Hopkins University

“Is Moderation a Coherent Answer to Present Problems?” (1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.)
Geoffrey Kabaservice, Niskanen Center (Moderator)
Aurelian Craiutu, Indiana University
Jacob Levy, McGill University
Andrew Sullivan, New York writer-at-large
Sam Tanenhaus, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and journalist

Space is limited. You may reserve your seat at the conference here.

The Niskanen Center is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and does not support or oppose candidates for public office. This conference is about ideas and does not represent any attempt to promote or oppose a candidate or party.