I love the spirit and scale of this idea. I have several reservations. I hope others either communicate ways to address these reservations and/or adopt some of the suggested strategies. There may be some major obstacles that have not been considered by those behind the Unity2020 effort. If Unity2020 does not succeed I hope we can rally around another effort of this magnitude moving forward. We have to renew and enhance our political system--it's the only way I see to rewrite our social operating system. So here are some of my concerns.
First, and most importantly, the Unity ticket would need 50% of the vote or congress gets to vote out of the top three candidates. It’s called a contingent election. If an decent candidate can’t win a primary in one of the two parties why do we think we can inspire 50% of the country to vote for a Unity ticket? What about the Unity strategy is different than say a Bernie Sanders, or Andrew Yang, primary candidacy? It was a crowded field, that is one factor. There are a lot of independents and non-voters. Perhaps non-voters are more likely to turn out in a general election than a primary, but I am doubtful. Maybe if Covid19 had hit before the primaries the results would be different. But here we are, any presidential ticket would need 50% of the vote or congress decides, and do we think congress is going to select the Unity ticket even they got more votes than the other two candidates? Well fuck, maybe they would—what is the game theory here? It might be that the only compromise that could be reached would be the Unity ticket.
Secondly, I have skepticism about independents, or even “center” or “populist” Republicans or Democrats, voting for the Unity ticket because of Duvergers law, which “holds that plurality-rule elections (such as first past the post) structured within single-member districts tend to favor a two-party system”. The US citizenry instinctively understands spoilers. This instinct could prevent them from even supporting the Unity ticket. Perhaps some way for citizens to pledge to vote Unity if a threshold of other citizens commit to doing the same could change this dynamic.
One way to strengthen the Unity ticket idea is to get the Unity ticket to commit to doing the will of the people as expressed through a Citizen Platform. The president and vice president could have an ongoing conversation with the body politic through 21st century civic engagement tools. Once elected the first priority of the Unity ticket could be to get funding for an launch the Citizen Platform…think fireside chats, collective decision making, and online voting. This is not only inspiring but brings the attention to actual unity rather than the particular character or policy platform of the candidates.
A lot needs to change and we have to try. If we find ourselves with Biden presidency and a Democratic House and Senate perhaps there is a way to put pressure on them—they won’t be able to blame Republicans for inaction any longer. The country will be in a depression by then too. Times are a changin one way or another. And of course there are the 2022 and 2024 elections that we might be able to swing, to break the two-party corporate stranglehold, if we start December 2020.
That is my contribution for now. I’ll leave with saying that I am 100% onboard with the spirit behind this effort. Let’s do this, one way or another.