Unity08.com


While I am excited about the launch of Unity08.com, (See previous post). I do feel that there is still more that can be done. I think that we are soon to see campaigns that allow users to submit their own campaign advertisements, allowing users to vote for the one that airs on the networks. I hope to see discussions or town-hall meetings take place online. They could even use Google maps to chart out a campaign tour. The possibilities are endless and I hope that Unity08.com seizes the opportunity to engage in some groundbreaking online campaign tactics.

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This morning Unity08.com launched it’s website. (See previous post). The party itself could play a huge role in the 2008 election. I have to say I am quite impressed. One not that I had not made before was that according to the website they are not looking to form a new party but “fix the old parties.”
While not much is revealed other than their three goals, they do explain the types of issues they wish to take up. Unity08.com breaks issues into two categories; crucial issues and important issues. What they are really saying is there are issues that affect us a county and there are issues that are fun to talk about and get at peoples emotions. While the “important issues” are, well, important, the “crucial” issues are the ones that we should be talking about.
Crucial issues include: “Global terrorism, our national debt, our dependence on foreign oil, the emergence of India and China as strategic competitors and/or allies, nuclear proliferation, global climate change, the corruption of Washington’s lobbying system, the education of our young, the health care of all, and the disappearance of the American Dream for so many of our people.”
The website goes on to say “In our opinion – since the disintegration of the Soviet Union – our political system seems to have focused more attention on the ‘important issues’ than the ‘crucial issues.’” I couldn’t agree with them more. I truly think that Unity08.com can be successful. Even if their candidate doesn’t win they can hopefully force both parties to discuss the “crucial issues” more.

That is what I have heard from a couple of people tonight. We’ll I have to admit I had not heard of Unity08.com until I read Alter’s article in Newsweek. (See previous post). So I figured I’d do a quick Google news search and find other articles, none. Ok, how about Lexis Nexus, none. It seems almost surprising. A third party, that in my opinion could have a huge impact, isn’t getting a lot of publicity. Or is it? Consider what the party is about. Because it is an online party there is a great possibility that the site itself will gain popularity online and in blogs before it draws attention from the “regular media.” Or, maybe the publicity will follow tomorrows launch. We’ll sure find out, but before that, I wanted to address some of the questions people had when I told them about Unity08. For the record I do not necessarily support the ideas of the party but rather support its use of technology. After all, they don’t even have a platform yet. Here is what I was able to gather thus far. I’m sure we’ll learn much more tomorrow. I have to say, I’m really excited.

Unity08 is just like any other third party with some minor exceptions. The idea is that the party is based online. That means instead of having a convention in a major city to draw attention and vote on candidates it would happen online. Any registered voter can become a delegate and vote at the convention. The big question is how do you make is secure, prevent voter fraud. While people may be scared about placing votes online, it is possible to make an internet site secure. Anyone ever engage in online banking? Once you move beyond security, the difficulty becomes preventing people from voting twice. This isn’t American Idol after all. According to the one story that has been written, Unity08 will cross-reference voter registration databases. The other question is who’s behind it? According to Alter’s article, people with political experience from both parties. They include two former Carter campaign staffers, Hamilton Jordan and Gerald Rafshoon, Ford’s media guru, Doug Bailey and Maine’s former governor, Independent Angus King. More to come tomorrow.

A Newsweek column by Jonathan Alter “A New Open-Source Politics” raises some interesting issues about the internet being the medium for politicians in 2008. Just as TV, newspapers, and radio look to move online because of the growing audience so do politicians. I think it is essential to do this with the right candidate, Howard Dean anyone. The trouble, as it is pointed out, is making sure the older generations are still on board. Confusing or even losing them in the internet shuffle can be very costly to any candidate.
One of the ideas tossed out in the column was the idea of an open source campaign. Imagine a place where you could upload your own campaign video or photos, communicate online with the candidate, and most important tell your friends about it. It could become sort of an Election 2.0.
I myself am excited about this prospect, not just because I think it is important for candidates to engage in online communication, but because it opens a world of job opportunities. It will truly be interesting to watch and see what the candidates in the coming two years can put together.

NOTE: The article makes note of a new website Unity08.com. I will be posting on that site once it launches this week.