Thoughts on Unity 2.0
First off I’d like to commend Unity 2020 (for those not familiar with the project) for its courage and sense of responsibility to facilitate a significant shift in American politics. I hope Unity 2020 is just the first phase of the Unity movement and an early example of a new type of power beginning to arise on planet Earth. Addressing the trends of environmental degradation, exponential technological advancement, economic inequities, and political corruption will require nothing less than a national (and likely a global) renaissance. Unity 2020 (now Unity 2.0) and others are right to aim for more-than-incremental changes to our social operating system. If humanity can succeed in avoiding civilization collapse we’re likely to create a society far superior to the one we have now — the circumstances require us to be better.
It appears that it’s time for Unity 2020 to regroup and consider what will define Unity 2.0. There may be alternate, or additional strategies to the “Dark Horse Duo. Given the short period of time left in the 2020 election cycle the Dark Horse Duo was a decent strategy and well worth the effort, as I understand it, given the learnings that were gleaned.
Third Parties Are a Losing Strategy — Take Over the Party
I’ve been contemplating how to renew our political system as well and would like to share some of my perspective and thoughts during this regrouping phase. Prior to learning about Duverger’s law and how our winner-take-all system makes winning with a new party a difficult strategy (at least until ranked-choice voting is passed into law) I favored a third party option. On top of this, a third party candidate would likely have to get 50% of the vote in a three-way race, not a probable outcome. If no presidential candidate receives 50% of the vote this results in Contingent election where “if no candidate for president receives an absolute majority of the electoral votes, pursuant to the 12th Amendment, the House of Representatives is required to go into session immediately to choose a president from among the three candidates who received the most electoral votes”. What is the chance that the House of Representatives will select the Unity ticket? Also, it is very difficult to build a political machine from the ground up. One way or the other it’s going to be a fair playing field. What is more plausible, a Unity/People’s candidate winning a Democratic oRepublican primaries or a third party winning a three-way race in the general election? I think its the former.
In other words, I think our efforts are likely to be more productive aimed at taking over one more of the major parties. The parties do favor the established order but we’ve witnessed an old self avowed “Democratic Socialist” come very close to winning the Democratic primary during the last two presidential primaries. If we can elect a people’s president certainly we can reform the party. The party is a machine, a vessel, the character of which we can change by swapping out the staff.
Unify People Around the Democratic Process
Another angle would be for Unity 2.0 to consider building the movement around process rather than candidates or policy. I am suggesting that focussing on the fundamental renewal and enrichment of the democratic process is not only something we can unite around it will set up the right conditions for the emergence of candidates and policies that We the People trust and have solidarity with. For this to work the process needs to include a broad and diverse swath of the electorate.
I heard Bret Weinstein and Jim Rutt discuss (starts at 9th mention of the word “process”) this on the Jim Rutt Show and they have somewhat different views on the subject. I detail some of what this process might look like in the article “The Prospect of a People’s Voice Platform: How to Break the Two Party Corporate Duopoly and Renew American Democracy” where I write about using modern Web technologies to enable civic engagement on a regular basis and in meaningful ways. Tools that facilitate conversations between thousands or millions of constituents and the representatives that serve them. In short, I suggest encouraging some of the most promising (Andrew Yang comes to mind) candidates to make a People’s Candidate pledge and commit to implementing a People’s Voice Platform once elected to office, or even as a candidate if the resources are there. Or candidates run on this and/or some other process-driven policy. The point is to build trust by facilitating meaningful dialogue/exchange. Candidates can still advocate for their favored policies while still pledging to do the people’s will as expressed through the People’s Voice Platform
Use Your Network to Facilitate National Sensemaking Town Halls
We Unity folk know that politics is broken and perhaps we should show the world what politics should look like. We don’t even need to get elected to start. There is broad consensus that the political debate format is shit and that we should be discussing the issues of the day in long form, with domain experts and fact checkers, and throughout the year not just in election season.
So let’s give our nation quality political dialogue and sensemaking facilitated by Unity. The big question is will the mainstream pay attention and will existing representatives participate? You all have the people in your network to give visibility to this effort, enough for it to grow if executed well. We need to do for political discourse what Joe Rogan has done for podcasts.
A True Unity Movement Can’t Dismiss the Progressive Left
My impression from following Unity 2020 and associated thinkers is that there is a strong disdain on the part of Unity leadership of the “progressive left”, despite having many progressive viewpoints. I would like to suggest though that building bridges with the progressive left might be advantageous. Listing “progressive activists” on the ArticlesOfUnity.org website as “unwilling to engage in dialogue” does not seem quite even handed. It would be a shame to not make attempts to connect and dialogue with “The Squad” (aka Justice Democrats), Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, and other progressive organizations. Bernie Sanders, whether you agree with his policies or not, is a good faith actor, is representative of a large swath of the progressive left. In short, I think it’s a big mistake to write off the entire progressive left as incapable of dialogue as they make up a large percentage of people who recognize the oligarchy and corporate duplooy for what it is. A true unity movement can not dismiss the progressive left and I do not think it will get the energy and grassroots support it needs to succeed. Some may be unreachable but it’s worth the effort to invite them into the movement, to invite some of the leaders into dialogue around some of the issues that currently divide us. They may be more open and capable of unity than some realize. We should make a good faith attempt to build these brides and build a broad coalition (again, likely around process).
It’s time to get to work, less than two years until the next election cycle and we need game plans that are acted out over the next 2–4 years and beyond. Once you’ve been to the mountaintop and seen the other side there is no life to live but try to help get our nation and world to the promised land. Let’s do this my fellow patriots.