As Policy Director and then as Chief Operating Officer, Americans Elect corporate leader Elliot Ackerman has been saying for many months that the ordinary citizen members of Americans Elect, not Americans Elect corporate leadership, would be identifying the core questions to drive its 2012 presidential nominating process:
Delegates to the Americans Elect convention will help shape the rules and craft a Platform of Questions the candidates must answer. Elliot Ackerman’s job as Americans Elect Policy Director is to serve as the steward of these processes…
How is the Platform of Questions different from the kind of convention platforms we are used to hearing about?
Elliot Ackerman: We won’t be mandating or dictating a platform. Ours is a Platform of Questions, emphasis on questions, and those questions come from the Delegates.
Some parts of the Americans Elect website still insist that Americans Elect rank-and-file membership will originate and decide upon the questions to be asked in the 2012 election:
PLATFORM OF QUESTIONS
Americans Elect delegates will collectively decide on a “platform of questions” that all candidates will be required to answer in order to seek the nomination.
And of course through it all the Americans Elect corporate leadership insists it will promote no “ideology or issues” of its own.
But Americans Elect corporate leadership just can’t seem to help itself. Press release, September 22 2011, announcing the determination of Americans Elect’s “Core Questions”:
The 9 core questions that every DELEGATE has already answered include:
ECONOMY: What is your stance on the US budget deficit? Are in you in favor of more spending cuts, more tax increases or some combination of both?
ENERGY: What is your stance on America’s energy needs? Do you favor investment in renewables or more drilling or some combination of both?
HEALTHCARE: What do you think the government’s role in health should be?
IMMIGRATION: What is your stance on illegal immigration? Do you think that all or most illegal immigrants should stay in the country or all or most illegal immigrants be deported?
FOREIGN POLICY: When you think about the US pursuing its interests abroad, to what extent should the US listen to other countries?
EDUCATION: What is your stance on educational curriculae? Should it be set by the local school boards, by national standards, or some combination of both?
SOCIAL ISSUES: When you think about the rights of same-sex couples, do you believe they should be allowed to marry or only allowed to form a civil union?
ENVIRONMENT: What is your stance on our use of Natural Resources? Do think it exists for the benefit of humanity or should it be completely protected or a combination of both?
REFORM: Should we make this country great by returning to the values of our forefathers or keep building and adapting for the future?
These core questions create a base from which Americans Elect offers all Americans who sign up an ongoing conversation about the issues they care about.
Who decided that these 9 questions are the core questions that are the base for Americans Elect?
Americans Elect’s rank and file membership didn’t write these questions. Americans Elect corporate staffers did.
There was no vote among Americans Elect’s rank and file membership held to select these questions as “core”, not even from among the broader set of 206 total questions Americans Elect corporate staffers wrote. There wasn’t even a straw poll.
Americans Elect corporate leadership just decided that the above 9 questions ARE the core questions for Americans Elect. They just are. Poof. Like that. Because Americans Elect corporate HQ says so.
So much for Americans Elect’s rank-and-file members driving the process. That’s just another piece of the Americans Elect promise left by the side of the road on the way to its private corporate Nominationland.
Postscript: Not only are the questions corporate-selected rather than member-elected, they’re an embarrassingly thin attempt to create the appearance of a majority “moderate” nation. Watch for Americans Elect to tally up responses to the “or some combination of both” questions, note how many people favor some combination of two features of policy, not bother to note which of the two features they favor more, not bother to note the existence of possibilities beyond the two features Americans Elect has mentioned, then proclaim the need for centrist policy just like Americans Elect members have “decided.” Watch for it.
Post-Postscript: Americans Elect isn’t paying attention to its own bylaws either, which specify that nobody can be a “Delegate” until their voter registration has been verified, which hasn’t happened yet. The people who have answered the questions are “Members.” Pay attention to your own rules, people. Or not. Not seems to be the habit.