March 31, 2015
A Political Bridge for 2008
Posted on May 1, 2007
Scheer: Now, in doing some of my research, I found names like Al Gore, Michael Bloomberg and others to be possible presidential candidates. Have you guys picked a candidate? Is there a voting process? Who’s going to be your running mate? Because Al Gore is a big name. Michael Bloomberg is a big name. They seem to fit your platform. Which guy do you think is going to be [part of] your running team?
Kornacki: Well, if either one of them were interested, they’re certainly welcome to pursue it. I know Bloomberg could certainly relieve the fundraising pressure right away. The principle behind this is actually, this sort of gets into our concerns about the nominating process with each party. What’s going to happen next year in the Democratic and Republican primaries? You’re going to have a very sort of unrepresentative pool of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, possibly Nevada, possibly South Carolina, who are going to whittle each party’s field to maybe two or three candidates, maybe less, maybe they’ll even get a winner of those four. And then you’re going to have this super huge collection of states on Feb. 5th, 2008, and then you’re going to have the nominee. Most people, most good Democrats, most good Republicans across the country are really going to have nothing to say about who their party nominates [are] unless they can write a big check next year. So we’re saying we’re going to nominate our candidate a few months after both parties nominate theirs. In June 2008 we’ll nominate ours, and we’re going to do it through what we think is the future of democracy—an online, the first online political convention. And we’re going to allow any registered voter in the United States of any political party, or any registered voter who’s not a member of a political party. A political independent, which might be the heart and soul of our movement. To register for our online convention, they can support a different candidate. They can go support Obama now, they can go support John McCain now. Doesn’t matter to us. We’re opening that to everybody.
Kornacki: It’s wide open. And that’s the spirit of it.
Square, Site wide
Scheer: And now I really want to get on the Internet thing ‘cause I was reading a [Washington] Post article from ... 2006, when you guys first started. ... You guys are really big on the Internet; how is that playing out for you? I mean, how have you found the Internet? Because, we see these other candidates now using the Internet. Do you feel like you may have a majority on the Internet? A monopoly?
Kornacki: Well, yeah. It’s interesting because in politics these days, you know, the Internet, everybody talks about Internet strategy and you think back to Howard Dean and all the money he raised on there, so everybody says, well, we’re going to start an Internet movement and we’re going to change politics completely through it. And that’s certainly our vision. I think it works, to different degrees and different ways for different campaigns. In our case, I think we, we’re not going to see a real massive visible ground swell for this for some time because we don’t have a personality behind our campaign right now. I mean, we have a great actor, Sam Waterston from TV, he’s on “Law & Order,” who’s sort of out there promoting us, which is great. He’s been fantastic, but presidential campaigns, especially this day and age, are driven by celebrity personality, at least in the early stages. You know, you’ve got Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani. They drive most of the interest in this race. People we’re talking to, the voters who aren’t really part of the party establishment on either side, aren’t particularly engaged right now. What we’re looking for is to have a vehicle available to them around this time next year, when they start to pay attention, when they have busy lives, they have a lot going on, you know, these concerns we’re talking about, whether it’s healthcare, or the economy, national debt. These affect them every day so they’re busy with their problems and all their concerns. But around this time next year, they start to pay attention. Our message is going to be pretty simple. C’mon over to Unity08.com, register as a delegate and that’ll take all of 45 seconds. You don’t have to change your political affiliation, your party affiliation to do it. And then in June of 2008 you get to vote at our convention and then no one’s going to have any excuse come October, November 2008, when we routinely complain that there’s not a third choice. Well, if you ever have had that complaint, here’s your chance to do something about it.
Kornacki: He is. He is. He came to us recently. We have a lot of interesting people on there and I think it’s really an eclectic mix and I think if you take a look at some of the names on there, it’s tough to really pigeon-hole us. That’s why I kind of reacted when you said centrist earlier. There are worse things to be called, I’m sure, but it’s a mix of all sorts of people with all sorts of different backgrounds and all sorts of different experiences in politics. But one thing that they all sort of have in common is that they’re frustrated. They’re frustrated that there’s a lot of hot air. There’s a lot of heated discussions. Very personal discussions. Very personal arguments and confrontations in politics. But not a lot seems to get done either.
Scheer: Now this is a really important thing I think we can wrap up on. I really want to get your take on this because in that ‘06 article and a few others, they talk about your grass-roots support. And one site just said you don’t have any. What’s your grass-roots support like right now? Are you guys, do you feel you have like, in the communities, not through the Internet but, in phone banks, like the Republicans do, or raising money ... ?
Kornacki: I think working is the key, and I think you’re not going to really see it take off until this time next year. I really do believe that. I think our challenge right now is creating enough interest in it, enough attention among the people who are likely to be interested in this kind of thing, who—you hear everybody complaining that, my God, it’s April 2007, we shouldn’t be talking about the presidential race in November 2008 right now. People who are complaining about that, with good reason I think, we have to convince them to be taking an active role to—first of all, we have to make sure we’re on their radar screen. And certainly appearances like this help. And then convince them to take an active role right now, even though it is so early. So, yeah, right now we have, I think, I don’t want to quote you a number here because I don’t have it in front of me, but I think we have around 50,000 people signed up online, which is, I know that’s not a huge number, I also know that if you add up the total number of delegates who are going to be at the Democratic and Republican convention next year you’re going to get about 10,000, by my count.
Scheer: They’ve been around a while.
Kornacki: What’s that?
Scheer: I said they’ve been around a while. They’ve been building their base. You guys still got one more, this next year, you guys will build and build and build and maybe you’ll be bigger than the Democrats.
Kornacki: That’s the idea. Look, if we have 50,000 now, and we can keep growing, I really believe, if we just do the grunt work for the next year and steadily make a name for ourselves and steadily spread the word, I really think a lot of people are going to wake up in February or March of 2008, take a look at the Democratic candidate, take a look at the Republican candidate, and it’s going to be just like, gosh, the last time we had an open-seat presidential election was 2000 right? And it was, if you can remember back to those primaries, it really came down to McCain versus Bush on the Republican side, [Bill] Bradley versus Gore on the Democratic side. And I think most, sort of, average Americans, if you asked them, well you know what, we’d like to have McCain versus Bradley. But they got Bush versus Gore. And obviously it turned into a very consequential election, but there weren’t too many people who were inspired by either choice in 2000.
So, if something like that happens again, all of those people who were disappointed with their choice in 2000 will be probably disappointed with what they’re presented with in 2008. The difference is, when they come to that realization, there’ll be an outlet for them. It won’t be too late for somebody else to step forward. And I think that’s when—we talk about the grass-roots nature of this thing—I think that’s when it’s really going to take hold.
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