Unity 2020, a campaign launched by ‘canceled’ Evergreen College Professor Bret Weinstein to join the disaffected left and right to ‘fix’ US democracy, has been yanked from Twitter and had its website banned.
The campaign’s Twitter account was suspended on Thursday night as US President Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for the 2020 presidential race. Weinstein told his followers the account was disabled for “amplifying” the hashtag #JustSayNotoDonaldandJoe, which had been tweeted more than 11,000 times by the time @ArticlesofUnity got the ax.
Twitter suspended #Unity2020’s account for amplifying #JustSayNoToDonaldAndJoe as President Trump was accepting the Republican Party’s nomination. Pull back the curtain and see how we got here: vague rules and selective enforcement are the duopoly’s best defense. Heads up, @jackpic.twitter.com/3keTii9IVJ
It’s not clear what about the hashtag set Twitter moderators on the warpath, as it accurately sums up Unity 2020’s stated mission of bringing together those on the left and right who feel they’ve been excluded from the political process. However, in a totally predictable example of the Streisand Effect, in which attempted censorship actually brings more attention to the idea being censored, the hashtag started trending again as Twitter users demanded to know what rule the account had broken.
In an odd turn, #JustSayNoToDonaldAndJoe is trending again because people are tweeting about Twitter’s alarming suspension of our Twitter account and its blocking users from tweeting links to the unity website. When one takes up arms against unity, people grasp it instantly.
Making it clear that the suspension was not a mistake, Twitter blocked all efforts to post Unity 2020’s web address, and existing tweets with the address were redirected to the now-infamous “potentially harmful website” warning screen.
Weinstein, a biology professor, became famous in 2017 after he was mobbed by angry students after refusing to vacate the Evergreen campus during a “day of absence” event, in which white students and faculty staff were expected to stay home in a contrived show of “solidarity” with black students. Weinstein and his wife, also a professor at the school, left Evergreen later that year after suing the college over its failure to protect them from harassment and violence and made a career out of sounding the alarm about cancel culture spreading beyond the campus. Their predictions sound awfully prescient in 2020.
While the Articles of Unity campaign talks a good game about bipartisan cooperation, proposing a two-headed presidency with one “center-left” candidate and one from the “center-right,” its qualifications beyond that are somewhat vague (candidates must be “patriotic, highly capable, and courageous“). The notion of deciding which candidate runs as president and which as vice president via coin-flip is unlikely to appeal to many in the hyper-partisan climate of the 2020 contest.
And its list of potential presidential candidates includes some polarizing figures, from businessman and ex-Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who wants a universal basic income (UBI) for all Americans, to Republican Senator Dan Crenshaw (Texas), who believes the First Amendment to the Constitution should not protect peaceful boycotts of a foreign government.
More than a few people have accused Weinstein of grifting on people’s desperate hopes for something more than another “lesser of two evils” election, observing the “candidates” listed on Unity 2020’s website don’t seem to have any knowledge that they’ve been drafted for the campaign and the existing rules of US elections would seem to bar them from running anyway. Others have expressed concern about the lack of details on Weinstein’s platform.
Was that the reason for the suspension? I was thinking they would have suspended the account for lack of “civic integrity”. I’m not happy about the disappearance, but I do think the Unity2020 agenda could have been explained better. Responses like the one below weren’t good ones. pic.twitter.com/zhvsnh5Ltd
However, Unity 2020 is not the only effort to circumvent the hoary duopoly that has led half the country to give up on voting entirely. The Movement for a People’s Party is holding a virtual convention on Sunday with speakers including former Democratic candidates Marianne Williamson and Mike Gravel, progressive comedian Jimmy Dore, and journalist Chris Hedges. Democratic Socialist and former Bernie Sanders campaign head Nina Turner and activist professor Dr. Cornel West are set to headline the convention, which is pushing back against another business-as-usual party platform from the Democrats, demanding the inclusion of Medicare for All, a “people’s stimulus” amid the pandemic-related economic crisis, and other progressive measures.
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