Third Parties

Americans Elect: Don't Give Up!

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As Americans Elect, the attempt at a internet-based third party, fails to meet its own stated standards for demonstrated public support for its would-be candidates and tries to punk out (after winning coveted and hard-to-get ballot access in at least 29 states), some would be candidates are pissed, reports California Watch:

Complaining that the group's leadership hasn't listened to the membership, the insurgents are pushing for Americans Elect to forge ahead. They don't want the $35 million the group raised to get on the ballot in 29 states, including California, to go to waste.

Involved in the effort is a Bay Area activist and filmmaker who ran for the Americans Elect nomination and came in third place, after former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. Michealene Risley, a resident of Woodside in San Mateo County, said she was shocked when she heard – via press release – that Americans Elect was shutting down the nomination process….

Americans Elect had bulldozed through the tremendous hurdles alternative parties face in getting on ballots, gathering more than a million signatures to become the first new official party in California since 1995. But in its announcement last week, Americans Elect explained that its rules mandated an end to the process because no candidate achieved the "national support threshold" necessary to enter its online convention in June.

Roemer, for example, needed 10,000 supporters among those who registered as Americans Elect delegates online, but he came up with only 6,293. Risley and Anderson needed to collect 50,000 supporters – more than Roemer because they didn't have high-level political experience….. 

Americans Elect always faced long odds in its quest to field a viable, centrist presidential candidate who would shake things up. The group also drew criticism for not disclosing the donors who bankrolled the effort. In a previous story, California Watch found that one of the main funders, board Chairman Peter Ackerman, once had to pay millions of dollars in delinquent taxes and penalties for an alleged tax shelter scheme.

"They haven't been the most transparent group from the outset," Anderson said. "Nobody really knows how the rules were set from the beginning or how Americans Elect has been financed."…

Risley said the group's top-down decisionmaking "feels like more of the same" instead of an alternative to the traditional two parties.

Given their insistence on a transpartisan "centrist" choice, it never really promised to be anything but more of the same, alas. A fascinating experiment in conquering ballot access restrictions, though. I only wish people would throw money at such problems with a better idea than "transpartisan centrist." Of course, if they followed their own rules and enough people cared to meet their numerical triggers, any number of interesting things might have happened. Alas, they did not.

Guess who is number one in the Americans Elect "draft" with more than twice as many picks as his nearest competitor, GOP also-ran Jon Huntsman? Ron Paul, subject of my new book, Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.

Past Americans Elect blogging from me here and here.