Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Unity ticket seeks to end political polarization

A new political movement sweeping the country with hopes of shaking up the system makes its home in Denver, and one of its founders is one of DU’s own. 

The goal of the Unity08 effort is to break down partisan barriers by offering a unified ticket — one Republican and one Democrat or one Independent — for U.S. president and vice president in 2008. 

Troy Hashimoto, a sophomore public policy and business major from Hawaii, is a member of the Unity08 founders council. He connected with the movement through Freedom’s Council, a high school get-out-the-vote campaign, where he met Doug Bailey, a former political consultant who helped spearhead Unity08. 

Hashimoto says he felt compelled to help start Unity08 because he believes the two-party system “needs revolution.” 

“Politics at this time are not the best,” he says. “Things are not really getting done and everything is really partisan.” 

One of Unity08’s goals is to gather enough support to comprise at least 20 percent of the national electorate. No one necessarily believes the joint ticket will win in ’08, but the party’s founders say their party will decide the election. 

To build the movement, Unity08 expects college students to play a big role. 

“We’re targeting young people because they have the energy and momentum to get things done,” says Jim Jonas, a Unity08 founder who directs the Denver headquarters.

According to the movement’s Web site,, partisanship dominates politics because both parties focus on polarizing issues such as abortion, gun control and gay rights. 

Unity08 believes centrist issues such as global terrorism, national debt and dependence on foreign oil are more important to the majority of Americans. 

To frame its platform, Unity08 divides issues into two groups: crucial and important. Abortion, gun control and gay rights are designated as important issues; global terrorism and the national debt are designated as crucial issues.  

To be nominated on the Unity ticket, candidates will have to focus debate on crucial issues, Jonas says. 

“As with any convention, candidates will have to fight for that nomination,” Jonas says. 

Unity08 already has made contact with possible candidates from both major parties, Jonas says. Although he won’t disclose who these candidates are, Jonas says the Unity ticket appeals to them because they would not be able to win their own party’s nomination. 

Although Unity08 is based in Denver, the city cannot expect a large nominating convention in 2008. Instead, candidates for the Unity ticket will be nominated through the first-ever completely online convention. Any registered voter can participate, Jonas says. 

Unity08 isn’t trying to replace major party affiliations; rather, it aims to bring the parties’ focus back to the middle, Jonas says. 

When asked if these varying political views cause problems, Jonas says: “We get along better than you could possibly imagine.” He says the shared enemy of antipodal politics holds the movement together. 

“We’re keeping our eyes on the prize of getting sanity back into politics,” he says.

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