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Between May and July, Americans Elect Restricted Who May Run for President

When the corporation/political party called Americans Elect publicly rolled out its 2012 presidential effort at the end of July 2011, its method for nominating a presidential candidate contained a restriction:

As explained to Thomas Friedman:

Any presidential nominee must conform to all the Constitutional requirements, as well as be considered someone of similar stature to our previous presidents. That means no Lady Gaga allowed.

As outlined in Americans Elect bylaws:

Section 5.4. Candidate Certification Committee.

5.4.1. Purpose. The Candidate Certification Committee shall be responsible for certifying that candidates and draftees for the offices and president and vice president meet all constitutional eligibility, as well as to develop and apply criteria of demonstrated achievements based on qualifications of past presidents and vice presidents to ensure that only persons capable of performing the duties of president and vice president are eligible for voting by the registered Delegates….

A Candidate Certification Committee, appointed by the Americans Elect Board of Directors (which in turn is only appointed by itself), will decide whether presidential aspirants fit their “criteria” and are “capable” enough to be considered by the delegates.

It was not always so. A copy of Americans Elect’s May “about” page was included in a letter from the state of Florida to Americans Elect dated May 3 2011, giving us a glimpse back in time to a different standard:

Americans Elect "About" page, May 2 2011: Any person who meets the constitutional qualifications to be President may seek the Americans Elect nomination.

There’s a big difference practically and philosophically between the May standard of constitutional requirements to be President of the United States — 35 years old, a natural-born citizen and resident in the U.S. for 14 years — and the new July standard, which is whatever the Candidate Certification Committee decides is qualified. The May standard places trust in the American people to collectively decide within constitutional standards who is fit to be president. It shows a democratic philosophy. The July standard shows distrust of the judgment of the American people. It places trust for determining presidential fitness in a corporate committee of specially selected people who know better than the rest of us. It stipulates an elitist, not a democratic, selection process.

If Americans Elect wants to keep using phrases like “let the people in,” it should return to the standard that lets the people judge who’s fit to be president.

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