The Unity Party in the United States is a relatively new political party that challenges the political domination of two primary parties, Republican and Democrat, of the mainstream of American politics at virtually all levels of government. The politics of this smaller party are commonly defined as centrist. As a “third party,” or independent political party, the unity party faces many challenges common to any additional political parties that seek to get involved in American local, state, or federal elections.
In 2008, it was reported that the Unity Party officially fielded candidates for the ballots in some parts of Colorado state, including Boulder. The Unity Party claims membership in 26 states, but was primarily active in Colorado in the 2008 cycle. Since then, the party has attracted some growth, although state membership roles often number in the hundreds, rather than the thousands.
In terms of mainstream candidates, the Unity Party has been associated with the executive campaign of U.S. Army general Wesley Clark. In terms of name recognition and mainstream political associations, this party is generally limited, but a grass-roots enthusiasm can make up for a lack of national recognition. As third parties continue to challenge the established political system, groups like the Unity Party are assertive in offering voters choices.
Reporters who have scrutinized the goals of the Unity Party have mentioned some common planks of the party’s political platform. One of these is the simplification of the federal U.S. tax code, which includes a flat tax element, but is not completely based on a flat tax. Recent reports indicate that this political party supports some kind of carbon tax, although perhaps not the cap and trade system already proposed in Washington. Many members of the party would also like to see the federal government balance the U.S. budget; this general electoral principle has been shown to have traction within the ranks of both the Democrat and Republican parties as well, but with the failure of consecutive Democrat and Republican executive administrations to effectively balance the budget, third parties are often taking up the mantle of a balanced budget.
Some voters are most familiar with the Unity Party in the form of recent campaigns like that of Bill Hammons. A 33-year-old restaurant worker, Hammons was on the ballot in 2008 for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional district. Hammons stressed his status as a wage earning worker in the course of his campaign. Many voters and grassroots political activists see a great strength in fielding candidates with less privileged positions than many of those connected to the two main political parties in the U.S.