7:00pm November 26, 2011

What is Americans Elect All About?


A lot of questions surrounding the sudden emergence of Americans Elect, the new political party that doesn’t want to be officially recognized as a political party.  But, since it’s raised a good grip of cash to get a  nominating process underway – $22 million at last official count – it’s hard not to view it as a political party. Krissah Thompson in The Washington Post reports:

The effort could represent a promising new chapter for political moderates, who see a wide-open middle in the political landscape as congressional gridlock and bitter partisan fights have driven down favorability ratingsfor both parties.

“Voters are saddened by the inability of people in Washington to deal with the issues that are important to them,” said the group’s chief executive, Kahlil Byrd, a Republican strategist who once worked for Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick (D).

Americans Elect has ballot slots in Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and five other states, with certification pending in several others.

The group is relying on an ambitious plan to hold a political convention on the Internet that would treat registered voters like fans of “American Idol,” giving everyone a shot at picking a favorite candidate.

Read more 

2012 represents the year of new: candidates and the parties are attempting to break through the usual political and campaign strategy conventions as a way to tap into a restless American electorate that’s increasingly twitchy and cynical about government. Americans Elect get some props for one of the more catchy home page slogans: “Pick a President; Not a Party.” The site is, by all appearances, very fresh, clean and impressive. It’s definitely not an amateur effort by any means.  But, there are more questions than answers.

How different is Americans Elect from a normal two-party dominated political process if, at the moment, their process is reliant on two-party candidates?  This is essentially Google Trends 3.0, Americans Elect “tracking” candidate clout and resonance based on how they rank online.  At the moment, Republican candidate Ron Paul (R-TX) is at the top with President Barack Obama in 2nd place.  How’d that happen, most folks are going to ask? Simply the result of more people online talking about Ron Paul than Barack Obama.

There’s also Buddy Roemer, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson – and … huh? Trey Gowdy? Who’s that?  On one hand the problem is that the list is populated by a crowd of low-tier Presidential wannbes who are barely registering enough in the polls to get a debate slot.  On the other hand, it’s good Americans Elect is being equitable by spreading the coverage – but, again, what’s the point if few people know the candidates?

The problem, or the experiment, is an attempt to figure out just how much online enthusiasm, trending, and social media notes-in-the-back-of-the-classroom actually translates into raw get-your-behind-out-of-the-chair voting.  That’s been the question of the ages since the first hyper digital election in 2000, when candidates like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) discovered online fundraising.  Googling your favorite candidate is one thing, but voting for them is another.

Americans Elect says its not a party, filing as a “social welfare” organization instead.  Which, rightfully so, raises some red flags from watchdog groups like Democracy 21 that want to know where the $22 mill came from.  Based on the website and sophisticated method, however, Americans Elect is positioning itself as a major player.  But as what? A group of fed-up, exasperated and estranged political strategists from the two parties looking for something different?  That’s a thought. Whatever it is, there’s no doubt they are being very … smart about it.  Which should worry Democrats who have a lot more at stake than Republicans when it comes to energizing the online-heavy youth electorate.  Also at stake is that silent and growing majority of disillusioned independent voters who are about done with either party.

Still, what is Americans Elect’s answer to mobilizing Black and Latino voters considering a large share retrieve their information on public figures online, particularly through social media?  How do you get voters of color enthusiastic about mostly old White men who are popular in search engine rankings?

Some observers are speculating that it’s a front for a potential Independent bid from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who 1) has lots of cash and 2) is not a big fan of President Obama. And who has the most to lost from this effort?

President Obama.

Bloomberg is not making any effort to cool the speculation, either. Toby Harnden in The Telegraph:

He accused members of Congress of “political cowardice” for helping bring about a “disaster for the country” but the former Democrat and Republican who is now an Independent reserved his strongest words for Mr Obama.

“The executive branch must do more than submit a plan to a committee – and then step aside and hope the committee members take action. That’s not how any CEO would run a business.

He added: “It’s not how landmark pieces of legislation have gotten through Congress. Tough problems require determined, forceful and bold leadership – and real action.” 

Tough words could be translated as Bloomberg considering a bid for the White House. Signs of that will become much clearer once the Republican primaries start up.

About the Author

Charles Ellison
Charles D. Ellison, Managing Editor for Politic365.com, Washington Correspondent for The Philadelphia Tribune and a weekly political analyst providing insight on WDAS-FM (Philadelphia), WVON-AM (Chicago) and KSRO-AM (Sonoma County, CA). He is author of the critically-acclaimed urban political thriller TANTRUM. More information can be found at http://www.cdellison.com



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  1. Jay__

    “…but Americans Elect's bylaws allow its directors to disqualify a candidate who doesn't fit the organization's centrist purposes.”

    I believe the Reichstag had had similar bylaws. “America Elects” sounds like fascism pretending to be democratic.

    The “centrists” listed in the article are the same big government advocates that the left and right have given us for years.

    Link: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/20/opinion/l

  2. [...] A lot of questions surrounding a remarkable presentation of Americans Elect, a new domestic celebration that doesn’t wish to be strictly famous as a domestic party.  But, given it’s lifted a good hold of money to get a  nominating routine underway – $22 million during final central count – it’s tough not to……Read the Full Article at: http://politic365.com/2011/11/26/what-is-americans-elect-all-about/ [...]

  3. Sanjay

    Obama = Romney = Perry = Cain = Gingrich = GOP = Democrats. Different puppets, same deceitful/ traitorous Federal Reserve/Bankster masters.

    Gingrich, Perry, Romney, Cain = medical care dictatorship, $16-Trillion/bailouts, endless wars/empire, free health/education/food/house/amnesty for 3rd world invaders, racist quotas, bankster funded campaign. Thats not all.

    Gingrich = endless wives, $1.8-Million Freddie-mac bribe.

    Cain = Kansas Federal Reserve thug, "Libya swirls in my head", unauthorized finger in panties.

    Romney = abortion, gun control.

    Perry = Gardasil for little girls, "niggerhead" on farm, "oops, whats the 3rd one?", "Bank-of-America helping him out".

    End the wars/empire, end the federal reserve/IMF/World Bank/BIS/UN/WTO, end racist quotas, end TSA/DHS/ADL/SPLC and other Orwellian crime syndicates.

    Ron Paul will restore sound money, strong national defense, liberty, free enterprise, local government, strong traditional families, Western Civilization.

    • paulpatriot

      Sanjay — stop the cut-n-paste, please! Good points all and I admire that you support Dr. Paul as I do, but PLLEEEEZZZEEE, DON'T BE LAZY — it just irritates the masses and looks like we are robo-posters! RONPAUL2012

  4. This first article (where have you been?) by Poliics 365 on Americans Elect is disappointing. And what the heck does "mobilizing Latino and African American voters" have to do with ANYTHING in this context?? They can sign up (as I did last summer) to participate in the selection of a candidate and the Virtual Convention to be held in June–just like anybody else.

    Me? I have my skeptical antennae still out there and I too am watching out this isn't just a ploy for Mayor Bloomberg. I would not vote for him. My candidate is Buddy Roemer. Republican establishment is barring him from their debates and he's been summarily dropped from Republican ballot here in Florida where I live–what's an old lady to do??

    I say HURRAY for Americans Elect!! I hope it scares the hell out of the two parties and upends everything by having a candidate in place two full months before the Republicans have even chosen thiers.

    Am I prepared for being disappointed that Americans Elect doesn't turn out to be the saving of America's political system it could be? Yes, but I figure it's worth the risk compared to what we've got.

  5. Margrit Jay

    I think it is utter nonsense. These poeple can't eve run a website much less an election. Nice thought but utter nonsense.

  6. Margrit Jay

    Sorry about the mis-spelled word. I signed up but I want out. They do not give you an option to retract. It is funny business.

  7. Margrit Jay

    I hope their candiate is Michael Bloomberg. He has been a great mayor of NY and would make a great president. I am hoping.

  8. fantastic post, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector don’t notice this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

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