Every election, talking heads from a variety of special interests step forward and present themselves as independent candidates in order to raise awareness for their issue or cause in the public spotlight, but Evan Falchuk appears to be of a different breed. With the founding of the United Independent Party, he has taken a different approach from the conventional independent campaign. Conducting his own poll in Massachusetts, he reports that nearly 60 percent of voters in the state were calling for a new, independent party. With such a high percentage of malcontents looking for someone to represent them, Falchuk made the obvious move and stepped in to give them a voice.
More than a once-and-done candidacy, what the Evan Falchuk campaign is doing is actually building a party. Not just being the face of an issue, this Gubernatorial candidate has an actual platform to stand on. In the current political landscape, most of the time party affiliation automatically fills in the blanks for voters with respect to the position of a candidate on an issue. Falchuk has challenged those admitted malcontents not to settle for “column A” or “column B” when it comes to what is important to them. He backs it up with a website and blog which actually has his considered opinions out and articulated for people to see. Evan Falchuk has seen the benefit of not painting with the wide brush so often seen with the Democrats and Republicans in their campaigns. He doesn’t mind discussing the details.
The strength of this candidacy, however, does not lie solely with the talking points of the campaign. It lies with the idea behind the United Independent Party, and the movement it has the potential to represent. The concept that everyone has a voice is not a new one. It is the basis of the United States of America. The reality of everyone having a voice, and a valid platform for being heard in the internet, makes the prospect of a new paradigm an attractive one.
This generation of malcontents grew up with the web. They have seen how YouTube can make a message a mandate when the right people share it. They have seen the voice of a teenager in her bedroom become a voice for millions by the magic of social media. This is a generation of voters who understand the power of the tools they have in their hands. Evan Falchuk has stepped in and told them that they don’t have to settle for only two options. He has challenged them to use their voices in concert. He has challenged them to demand attention for their concerns rather than simply being told what they need to be worried about. He has given them, in his campaign and with the establishment of his party, a repeatable road map. In two years, many of these malcontents may be candidates themselves.
In reality, this is a train which can only pick up momentum. It is not just the fact that the social media platforms exist which creates this perfect storm for the campaign. The impetus comes from the manner in which the social media platforms and all aspects of everyday life are interwoven together. Browsing trends will immediately trigger recommendations for sites or groups or discussions with people who have similar interests. While that is great for advertisers and marketing gurus, it also makes it a simple matter for the purported 60 percent to connect with each other. The infrastructure for a grassroots campaign is already part of the fiber of everyday life in the modern world. When the Evan Falchuk campaign steps up and tells these particular Massachusetts malcontents that they have a voice, it does not take much convincing for them to believe it.
This particular snowball is rolling downhill with the full weight of the internet behind it. With a single candidacy, a movement is beginning. This will not likely be the last election where the name of the United Independent Party plays a prominent role. As the first, however, everyone will be watching to see if these Massachusetts malcontents can make a Governor of Evan Falchuk.
By Jim Malone