New Organization Offers Voters An Answer To Partisan Paralysis


    DENVER, Colo. – A new grassroots organization called Unity08 launched a nationwide movement on May 30 to effect major reform in the 2008 presidential elections by offering voters an alternative ticket – a Unity Ticket headed by a woman and/or man from each major party, or by an independent who presents a Unity Team from both parties. By electing a Unity Ticket to the White House, Unity08 plans to force the country’s Democratic and Republican leaders to cease their runaway focus on the issues of outlying special-interest groups and once again align with the aspirations and will of average Americans.

    Unity08 has three specific goals:

    • Elect a Unity Ticket to the White House in 2008, headed by a woman and/or man from each major political party or by an independent who presents a Unity Team from both parties.

    • Have the American people choose that ticket via the first-ever virtual, secure online convention of millions of qualified American voters. Unity08 has no candidate – the Unity Ticket will be chosen online, by the people.

    • Effect major change and reform in the 2008 national elections by influencing the major parties to adopt the core features of Unity08’s national agenda. Specifically, that means dividing the issues facing the nation into Crucial Issues (e.g., education, energy independence, deficit spending, global terrorism, health care, nuclear proliferation) and Important Issues (e.g., gay marriage, gun control, abortion rights), then focusing on the Crucial.

    ‘New ideas, new integrity’

    "A Unity Ticket in office for just one term, or taking part in just one election will bring new ideas, new integrity and new leaders to American politics today," said Unity08 Founders Council members Doug Bailey, former Republican political consultant and founder of The Hotline, and Hamilton Jordan, former White House Chief of Staff in the Carter Administration. "Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the ability of their elected officials to get things done because in recent elections, candidates have focused on the turnout of their parties’ vocal single-issue interests. They call those people their ‘base,’ but that base represents only a small fraction of the American people. As a result Washington has been polarized and paralyzed and the voters are ready to take their country back."

    "Unity08 will be the long-needed correction," said Founders Council member Angus King, former two-term Independent governor of Maine. "Backed by people of all ages, backgrounds, races, beliefs and political affiliations, this movement will demonstrate once again that collaboration and cooperation between the parties is not only possible, but critical to future progress."

    First online convention

    Unity08 plans to build an online community of millions of registered voters who will participate in an online convention in the first half of 2008 to nominate a Unity Ticket among any two candidates constitutionally qualified to serve – as long as they represent more than one party. Unity08’s website [] will be the focal point of the organization’s efforts, enabling concerned voters to register to become members, participate in a dialogue and share ideas to shape the Unity08 movement. Through the website, Unity08 members will mobilize to spread the word, and to take off-line action by placing the Unity Ticket on the ballot in all 50 states. Ultimately, members, in an online convention, will vote to nominate the ticket they believe will enact real change in Washington.

    "We are not in this to be spoilers or to hurt either party. We are in this to win, give the White House a Unity Team that can provide leadership, and along the way jolt each party back toward the voters in the center. 2008 is an historic moment of truth for the parties, the people and the nation," Bailey and Jordan said.

    Young interest

    The Unity08 movement is founded by a group of Americans representing all ages, race, location, political philosophy and party affiliation (to view a current list of members of the Founders Council in formation, visit

    "Unity08 is essential for our children," said Founders Council member Janet Kelly of Battlecreek, Mich., former general counsel at Kellogg and Sara Lee. "Too much time in Washington is spent attacking each other and not enough time is spent attacking the issues."

    The Unity08 movement has been building for months, through planning and discussions with civic leaders and concerned citizens across the country. Recruitment already has begun on college campuses.

    "Young people are disgusted with business as usual in Washington and are hungry to participate in a force for change," said Founders Council member Lindsay Ullman, a Yale University junior and former president of the National Associations of Student Councils.

    Founders Council member Zach Clayton, a senior and Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said, "For decades now, students across the country have been quietly turning away from our political system. Unity08 is the best opportunity in a generation for students to turn that frustration into action, fix Washington and change the country. Students will show up for this."

    Unity08 will follow the law in every instance and seek the opinion of the Federal Elections Commission to interpret the law where the movement breaks new ground. Unity08 legal counsel at Steptoe & Johnson has already requested an FEC advisory opinion on areas where the effort will break new ground, and the organization is developing a rules committee to determine precisely how the convention system will work. That rules committee will be headed by Peter Ackerman, managing director of Rockport Capital and chairman of Freedom House, and Tom Collier, partner at Steptoe & Johnson. Unity08 will accept no political action committee or corporate contributions.

    Solving the nation’s problems

    Unity08 recently released the results of a poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates finding that more than three-quarters (85 percent) of Americans agree that the country "has become so polarized between Democrats and Republicans that Washington can’t seem to make progress solving the nation’s problems." The poll found that 73 percent of Americans agree it would be a good idea for this country to have more choices in the 2008 elections than just Republican and Democratic candidates, and 63 percent express interest in a ticket that would feature a prominent Republican and a prominent Democrat. To read a summary of the poll’s major findings, visit

    "The partisan bickering in Washington is causing Americans to believe the wheels have come off our political system, that the American Dream is slipping away, and that time is short to get things back on track," explained Unity08 president and chief executive officer Jim Jonas. "Unity08 will be a catalyst for real, meaningful progress."

    Unity08 is headquartered in Denver, Colo. The organization currently is organized under IRS rules as a section 527 political organization while it seeks guidance from the Federal Election Commission. Over the coming weeks and months, through a network of volunteers and leaders across the country, Unity08 will recruit concerned voters to join the movement by signing up on the Unity08 website.

    For more information, visit

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