In its latest public account of itself, Americans Elect declares that any registered voter can register as a delegate in its 2012 presidential nominee selection process. Its delegates, Americans Elect promises in turn, will “craft the platform of key questions the candidates must answer”:
Any registered voter in the country, regardless of party, can become a Delegate to the Americans Elect convention. You can become a Delegate even if you also vote in your own party’s primary. As a Delegate, you will help shape the rules, craft the platform of key questions the candidates must answer, and ultimately choose the nominees. You also can draft your favorite leaders to run. Official Delegate sign-ups will begin in July 2011. Until then, please be sure to leave an e-mail address to stay in touch.
But a job listing posted by Americans Elect on Public Affairs Links and Politico last week tells a different story about who will “craft the platform of key questions.” It describes an Americans Elect Policy Team, the first goal of which is to “Develop the Platform of Questions which all Americans Elect Candidates will have to answer in conjunction with the Platform Committee.” More specifically…
The Deputy Policy Director will work closely with the Policy Director to achieve the above goals for Americans Elect. Specifically, the Deputy Policy Director will aid the Policy Team’s efforts to engage with the individuals and organizations which will contribute to the development of the Platform of Questions…. Once key individuals and organizations are engaged, the Deputy Policy Director will work closely with the Policy Director to aid in the building of mechanisms that create an interactive and positive Delegate experience across the Platform of Questions…
While Americans Elect’s public statement puts the delegates at the center of “crafting the platform of key questions” that 2012 presidential candidates must answer, the corporation’s job listing depicts Americans Elect staffers, along with an unspecified “Policy Team” and further unspecified “key individuals and organizations,” as those who will develop the platform of key questions. That’s a subtle but important difference.
The crafting of key questions is one of the essential means by which Americans are supposedly going to have democratic voice in selecting an Americans Elect presidential ticket next year. If staffers and “key organizations” are going to be responsible for crafting those questions behind the scenes, the democratic voice of the American people will be undermined. Americans Elect needs to explain how these two very different depictions of its process can be reconciled, and if no such reconciliation is possible, then it needs to explain which process is the real one.
I’ll be posing direct questions to Americans Elect about this apparent discrepancy in an open letter headed out by e-mail and snail mail tomorrow. It will be my second formal letter to Americans Elect and the latest in a long series of phone calls, e-mails, letter and even knocked doors, all trying to open up a line of communication with the mysteriously reclusive group. Sadly, not one of my requests for communication over the past seven months has been reciprocated, but maybe this time will be different. I’ll share the letter with you tomorrow, then let you know how if I get any word back.