A Group of Billionaires is Gathering Data for a Future “Third Party” of Solution Voters

The right and left are more compatible than you think

Bill Shireman

Americans are coming off of the most disturbing presidential debate in the history of the country, but what we saw was not just a clash between men, it was a clash between two narratives.

Two frightening worlds are presented to us to keep us apart from one another. One is used to scare people to the extreme right by calling attention to a world in which socialists are coming for your guns, your money, and your freedom. The other narrative is designed to push people to the left, and its message amplifies those white supremacists who are coming to oppress women, and college educated people, and people of color. Those are the worlds that we live in, worlds that are intensified by big data, which now has about 29,000 data points on each of us.

We’re living in these two very separate worlds, and we know in our world that most people are pretty reasonable. But all we hear about the other world is their most extreme, most disturbing ideas. The first presidential debate was a clash of those two worlds, which don’t work together very well when the fear is as deep as it is. We are now days away from the most divisive election in the history of this country — at least in the last 150 years — and we know that three things might happen on that day.

Trump might win decisively, in which case the left will erupt in anger. They’ll try to tear apart the Democratic Party for losing, and that will be tumult. If Biden wins decisively, then the Trumpers will erupt in anger. They too will try to divide and extinguish diversity within the Republican Party. Or, we’ll have a close election where either Biden or Trump appears to be the winner, the other one pulls out the lawyers, and we are engaged in weeks of constitutional crisis. Either way, we know that 50 million at least are going to be scared on that day, November 4th. They’re going to be hyped up by social media, by big data, they are going to be ready for danger, and some of them are going to be taking that danger into their own hands.

Why is all of this happening? The reality is if you penetrate the data machine, about 70% of us can actually get along. We can come to agreements, even on the big wedge issues that are used to divide us — abortion, immigration, and climate change. About 70% of us agree on solutions. There’s only 15% on either side that are diametrically opposed to agreeing or finding common ground.

So what can we do? A couple of years ago, Trammell Crow, the founder of EarthX — a Republican environmentalist, a contradiction in a sense — became aware that the nation was unable to take action on the biggest problems that we face, including climate change. He gathered a group of his friends, including me, who were of high net worth, and concerned that solutions weren’t able to happen. We’ve been meeting now for two years, and we have now — thanks to folks like Kathryn Murdoch who is the chief investor of Citizen Data — invested in, and built a new database platform that is close to that 70% broad center. We use it, not to divide people, but to find their commonalities and to unite them. Like Charles Munger Jr., who invested in a very sophisticated predictive model that identifies how we bring groups together, we have identified 45 million bridge-builders and 15 million problem solvers across the country. It’s time for us to join together.

What this country needs is not a third party right now, because the system is built to keep the existing parties in control. But we do need a third group, a future party if you will — to bring us together. We’ve formed an informal organization — InThisTogetherAmerica.Org. If we can recruit five million people and connect us so we can all recognize that we’re a part of this future party, we have the electoral power that dominates today. We have that 5% that can turn any election from the polarizers to problem solvers.

Visit InThisTogetherAmerica.Org. Recognize that November 3rd is not the most important date here, it’s November 4th. When the anger and the frustration could come to a boil. We need 5 million of us to come together to say wait we have the power to take back our democracy. Make America United Again.

Bill Shireman is a social entrepreneur and environmental policy innovator. He is the co-author of In This Together.