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Americans Elect Orlando and Occupy Orlando: an Updated Comparison between “Grassroots” and Grassroots

Two and a half weeks ago, I contrasted a nationally-promoted Americans Elect Meetup in Orlando Florida to the formation of a group called Occupy Orlando. As of October 6, the Americans Elect Orlando Meetup had 18 members, 4 of whom were Americans Elect executives or employees. The day before, Occupy Orlando had held a 400-person strong political rally, and had over 3000 fans on Facebook.

An update: over the past two and a half weeks, the Americans Elect Meetup in Orlando has signed up one more person. It hasn’t met again. There’s no meeting of the group scheduled any time in the next year. Americans Elect, the administrator of the group, hasn’t edited the Orlando Meetup page for over a month.

Occupy Orlando March on October 15

In the same period of time, the Occupy Orlando facebook page has attracted another 3800 fans. 1,666 people committed to attend the start of the ongoing occupation of Senator Beth Johnson Park outside the Orlando Chamber of Commerce. Occupy Orlando has its own independent web page with a blog updated multiple times a day. It meets as a deliberative body once every day to engage in civil discussion and make policy. That daily meeting is open to all. And it plans another march on November 5.

One of these is grassroots. The other is “grassroots.” One is the difference. The other hopes you can’t tell the difference.

6 comments to Americans Elect Orlando and Occupy Orlando: an Updated Comparison between “Grassroots” and Grassroots

  • If somebody like Ron Paul decided to seek the Americans Elect nomination, we would all see a huge expansion in American Elect groups and meetups of all kinds.

    • Jim

      There’s no personality associated with the Occupy movement and yet it is spreading fast. That’s a difference between a top-down movement and an actual grassroots one.

  • Tom

    Careful what you wish for Richard.

  • Bill

    Americans Elect Corporation, like the Wizard of Oz, is expert at looking bigger than it is. Gosh, they have a flashy web site, all techno and what-not…yeah, it’s amazing what a billionaire junk bond dealer’s pocket change can buy these days in web site design. Holy cow, they have 1.8 million signatures to get on the ballot! Yep, bought and paid for at $2 a pop, collected by the same firm (Arno Political Consultants) which has in the past been busted for signature-gathering techniques such as bribing Skid Row transients with ramen noodles and candy bars in exchange for signatures.

    The fact is that only a couple of months ago AECorp announced the online registration of its 100,000th member…making Americans Elect about the size of Temecula, California’s population. Taking into account the important difference between members and active, committed members (perhaps only one in ten for the latter), AECorp is significantly smaller than the Occupy Movement. This is in large part the source of its Occupy envy. For all the millions that Dear Leader Ackerman and his plutopals are blowing on the funhouse mirror that is Americans Elect Corporation, they can’t manage to buy as big a following as some kids and grannies camping out in the cold can command for free! Man, that’s gotta hurt.

    • Well, normative judgment aside, it certainly shows that the excuse trotted out by Americans Elect and its various Leaders — that by gum, we just had to take loads of undisclosed mega-million-dollar cash infusions from unnamed sources because that’s the only way a political movement can get off the ground — is empirically baseless. The occupation movement shows that when you legitimately set people’s imaginations on fire, you don’t need secret billionaires to fund the show. The converse is that the need for billionaire funding suggests people’s imaginations are not being set afire by your plan.

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