Sunday, May 28, 2006
Unity -08—Can This Possibly Work?

Or a better question is, can this possibly matter?

A new website is launching this week that has the very modest goal of completely revolutionizing the way President’s are picked in the United States. There’s an article by Alter in Newsweek that explains the process:

Basically the group (Unity ’08) is going to try to get as many registered voters as possible to sign up on their website. Vote on a centrist platform, and then right after the Dem/Rep conventions hold an online primary that will nominate a unity ticket. One from each party I guess? They will then mobilize their members to get the ticket on the ballot across the country.

Evidently the outfit is being run by old politicos from the Carter and Ford days, but with all sorts of tech-savvy young ones helping out. The idea is for a kind of viral or open source politics.

It’s a really interesting idea (although maybe not that different from MoveOn’s internet primaries) but I don’t know if it can amount to anything. Are there enough politically minded bloggers and tech people out there who even want to see a unity ticket?

Will this swing a close race?

Will it be a spectacular flame-out?

Alter seems pretty skeptical of the idea, but he does make some interesting points that shows he wouldn’t be surprised if Unity ’08 pulls something off. First he reminds us that the first candidates to truly embrace new technologies are often the most successful (FDR and the radio, JFK and tv), some might say that Dean already did this, but the internet is growing and changing so fast that a candidate could conceivably master the new internet every four years.

He ends the article by also reminding us that “a wacky, jug-eared Texan named Ross Perot received 19 percent of the vote in 1992” by just talking about the deficit and buying a few infomercials.

This is then they’ll be up and running sometime this week.

It’s an interesting idea, and I’m going to sign up for the emails, but have no idea where this will go.

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