But not even this colorful series of events would ensure that The New Center could gain traction. In our winner-take-all electoral system, an election with three parties usually results in an outcome that thwarts the popular will rather than expresses it. Imagine a hypothetical match-up between a post-Trump right-wing populist Republican Party, a socialist Democratic Party of the left, and a start-up New Center party situated between them. Such a contest could easily produce a popular vote breakdown of 60 percent for the center and left (with New Center taking 25 percent and the Democrats 35 percent) while the Republican populists win the vote with 40 percent. (How this would shake out in the Electoral College is anyone’s guess.)

The point is that however sensible The New Center’s proposals might be, there’s no guarantee at all that they will find a path to political power — and that in our increasingly dysfunctional system their very reasonableness could end up inadvertently empowering the least reasonable among us.