I contacted [Unity co-founder Douglas] Bailey recently to ask what had happened to this bold gamble, and he was the source of that 35,000 figure for the number of people who have lent support to the scheme. They obviously have a long way to go before they can claim to be a viable political force, but they are making slow, steady progress.
When I called Bailey, it had been just a week since the group announced that anyone who was interested could sign up at http://www.unity08.com as a voting delegate to a national convention planned for June 2008. Most of the sign-ups came before that formal start, Bailey said, in response to last year's publicity about the formation of Unity08.
As Whiskey Fire points out, this is a tacit admission that the group is failing to take off:
So they're not making "slow, steady progress." They got an initial rush and now nobody cares. Jeez, I bet a smart young advertising professional could get more than 35,000 people to sign an online petition for "Federline '08." Or "Aphids '08." Or the "Dysentery Ticket." Or the "Nigerian Inheritance Party."
Just so no one forgets, here's what Unity '08's co-founder predicted in December -- 5-20 million participants in the party's online "convention" and their candidate ahead in the polls:
We'll take it, certainly, if that's what we get. But think about this: By the time we have this convention, we'll have 5, 10, maybe even 20 million people on the Web site having this convention. Let's say it's 10 [million]. That'll be more people than have chosen the nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties, because they will have been chosen by the early primaries. It may not even break a million that have chosen those candidates.
That person will probably leap ahead in the polls then, because everybody's going to have them on the cover.... There may be people who wanted to get either one of their party's nomination and didn't get it; there could be new people; there maybe people from other disciplines than politics.
Only 4,965,000 to go!