31 May 2006

Please die Unity08.

Denver based group Unity08 is trying to launch a temporary third party for the 2008 Presidential election.

My reaction is simple. I hope it will shrivel up and die. Fortunately, given the way the system works, I am likely to get my wish. It has no candidates lined up and not much of an agenda.

While winning the White House is the primary goal, getting Republicans and Democrats to listen to mainstream voters is also high on the list, organizers said.

"We want to force them to pay attention to the crucial issues," said Jim Jonas, chief executive of Unity08.

Those issues, he said, include global terrorism, education, health care, the national debt and nuclear proliferation.

They are different from the "important" issues - gay marriage, gun control and abortion - that Unity08 says should be addressed, but should not dominate the national agenda and campaign rhetoric.


Colorado and the United States already have a political party that cares about global terrorism, education, health care, the national debt and nuclear proliferation. It is called the Democratic party. The party obsessed with guns, gays and abortion is called the Republican party. Unity08 adds nothing to the debate and has nothing to say.

We don't need a spoiler in the next Presidential election that will undermine candidates addressing the issues Unity08 claims to care about, which is precisely what every third party does in our current electoral system. Until either runoff voting, or instant runoff voting is adopted for Presidential electors in Colorado, third parties only hurt their political allies in the existing two party system.

If Unity08 wants to make a positive change, it should sponsor ballot initiatives to change the system to encourage moderation, not run candidates for President and Vice President.

3 comments:

Sam Smith said...

I'd like to agree with you, but I've been waiting for awhile to see some indication that the Dems know what they believe in. I mean, a hell of a lot of them voted for the Iraq war, and feckin' Hillary thinks Grand Theft Auto is a serious policy issue.

I'm willing to be convinced, but I can't do it all myself.

As for U08, in their conference call yesterday it seemed pretty clear that their motivation and goals are oriented toward driving the process toward the center - I imagine if we see a non-fringe nominee U08 will back off.

I did a round-up of the call, if you're interested. Draw your own conclusions: http://www.livejournal.com/users/lullabypit/217669.html

Jon W. said...

I'd really like to see an instant run off, although I'm not convinced that the election officials, let alone the electorate, could handle the added complexity. Absent such a system, spoilers like Perot and Nader inordinately punish the party they most closely resemble. Indeed, I really believe that a Bush supporter in 2000 would have gotten more bang for the buck by encouraging Democrats to vote for Nader than by encouraging Republicans to vote for Bush.

As for Unity08 in particular, I believe (with obvious bias) that the polarization that it seeks to address is largely on the Republican side of the aisle. We haven't seen Democrats stand up on the Patriot Act, the invasions, the nominations, the domestic spying, etc. They've run out of cheeks to turn, and had better nominate a strong candidate (please not Hillary) this time around.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

I honestly prefer the true runoff election system (a la France, Louisiana and Denver) to IRV.

Second choices don't get much thought much of the time. True runoffs elections do.