|Years of service 1984-1988||Rank Captain|
Name Joseph McCormick
Other work Government, Politics
|Education Yale School of Management, Virginia Military Institute|
Unit 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Ranger Battalion
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Joseph Francis McCormick Jr. is a former American political candidate, political activist, transpartisan organizer and innovator, author and public speaker.
Education and military service
McCormick attended Virginia Military Institute, graduating in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He was commissioned in the United States Army as a second lieutenant in the infantry, serving for two years as a platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division and two years with the 1st Ranger Battalion until leaving active duty in 1988 as a captain. McCormick subsequently attended the Yale School of Management and graduated in 1990 with a master's degree in Public and Private Management.
McCormick was chairman of the Dougherty Republican Party in 1997 and the Republican candidate for Georgia's 2nd congressional district seat in the US House of Representatives in 1998. McCormick defeated fellow Republican Dylan Glenn in the primary, but subsequently lost to incumbent Democrat Sanford Bishop in the general election. In that election, McCormick raised more money from individual contributors ($437,000 compared with Bishop's $200,000) while raising just $63,000 from Political Action Committees. Bishop raised more than $400,000 in PAC contributions.
Although McCormick did not campaign against the president, Democrats used the threat of the Clinton impeachment to mobilize black voters, and McCormick suffered along with other Republicans. McCormick did not run during the 2000 election cycle, serving, instead, as a campaign chairman for his former primary opponent, Dylan Glenn.
After his defeat in the 1998 congressional campaign, McCormick served as an alternate-delegate in the 2000 Republican convention. He then dropped out of active political involvement, citing disillusionment with partisanship. In 2003 he journeyed across America to interview rank and file citizens and political leaders of varying ideologies including Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, the president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and the chairman of the American Conservative Union Dave Keene among others. The theme that emerged from these interviews was that grassroots people, not elected leaders were ultimately the only ones capable of fundamental reform and political innovation. McCormick produced a 20 minute documentary about this trip and a subsequent experiment in transpartisan citizen empowerment called the Rogue Valley Wisdom Council.
These experiences motivated McCormick to begin organizing meetings among key national leaders from different perspectives. Between 2004 and 2007 as co-founder of the Reuniting America Project he and a steering committee which included Harvard Professor William Ury, co-author, Getting to Yes, conservative activist Grover Norquist and co-founder of MoveOn.org, Joan Blades organized seven such private, facilitated transpartisan leadership retreats. These conferences on "Democracy in America" were designed to build relationships and cooperation between over 145 national leaders with diverse views, including Vice President Al Gore and climate change denier Fred Smith, president, Competitive Enterprise Institute. From these private dialogues emerged numerous cross-spectrum initiatives including the Save the Internet Coalition, the Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, "Living Room Conversations", extensive research into practical methods of political bridge-building from members of the "National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation", as well as several books and articles about the theory, practice, and potential of transpartisan politics.
In February 2009, McCormick organized the first American Citizen's Summit in Denver, Colorado on the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth with the theme "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The outcomes of this event were the concepts of a "Transpartisan Alliance" of national grassroots organizations capable of empowering a unified voice of We the People as well as an informal, unofficial "Sunshine Cabinet" of national leaders capable of popularizing transpartisan policy options. The first prototype Sunshine Cabinet included conservative Grover Norquist, progressive Joan Blades as well as congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (2008 Green Party Presidential Nominee), congressman Ron Paul (1988 Libertarian Party Presidential Nominee), and Unified Independent Party director Jackie Salit among others.
In 2011, McCormick co-authored the e-book Reuniting America: A Toolkit for Changing the Political Game, an effort to summarize the lessons learned in the previous eight years of field research into practical means of reconciling the polarities in America at the national and grassroots level.
An article in Utne Reader characterizes him as a radical centrist thinker and activist.
Joseph Francis McCormick Jr. was born November 17, 1962 and raised in Pawling, New York. His father was an aerospace engineer and inventor of robotic controls, and his mother was a nurse and hospital administrator. He moved to Albany, Georgia in 1994 and married Celeste Anderson, a former beauty pageant winner and head cheerleader.