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New Briefing Book Shows New Means for Americans Elect Meddling with Candidate Selection

Americans Elect is a 501c4 corporation that wants to run its own candidate for President of the United States but that refuses to tell the public where its money is coming from. Although Americans Elect characterizes its nomination process as a democratic election, the Americans Elect corporate bylaws are structured to give a self-appointed corporate Board of Directors multiple points of control over the selection of its nominee. With the release of its new Rules, the Americans Elect corporate Board’s control over the presidential nomination is further tightened.

During the Summer of 2011, Americans Elect moved from its initial position of allowing any constitutionally-qualified candidate to run. Americans Elect decided it wouldn’t let voters decide which constitutionally-qualified candidate would be best: it would set up a Candidate Certification Committee to filter out candidates without “demonstrated achievements based on qualifications of past presidents and vice presidents.” The entire section of the Americans Elect bylaws regarding this Candidate Certification Committee reads:

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, subject only to a two thirds vote to the contrary by all registered Delegates in accordance with Section 5.6. All qualified persons, regardless of their membership in any political party, shall be eligible to seek or accept the nomination of Americans Elect.

5.4.2. Membership. Members of the Candidate Certification Committee shall be appointed by the Board from among the Delegates with due regard for the principles of non-partisan balance among the membership. Members shall serve at the pleasure of the Board and may be removed without cause.

The Board controls the Committee, the Committee decides who’s “qualified,” and in order to overturn the Committee’s decision 2/3 of all people who are registered to vote in the Americans Elect process would have to show up to actually vote on the matter and vote to overturn. Look at actual voting data and you’ll see that not once in modern history have 2/3 of registered voters showed up to vote in an American presidential election… and turnout is always lower for procedural votes. The standard for regular voters like you and me to overturn the Committee’s candidate censorship will never be met, making the corporate-controlled CCC the sole determinant of candidate access in practical terms.

Read Rule 8.0 in Americans Elect’s new Rules and you’ll find a new power for the Candidate Certification Committee — a power not granted to it in the corporation’s bylaws:

Rule 8.0 of the Fall 2011 Americans Elect Rules for its Election  Rule 8.0  Balanced Ticket Obligation.  The Presidential and Vice Presidential ticket nominated by Americans Elect shall, as nearly as practicable, consist of persons of differing ideological perspective or positions on the Platform of Questions to result in a balanced coalition ticket responsive to the vast majority of citizens while remaining independent of special interests and the partisan interests of either major political party.  Subject to reversal by vote of 2/3 of all Delegates, the Candidate Certification Committee shall determine whether any proposed ticket is balanced by reference to candidates' responses to the Platform of Questions within fourteen days after the final Qualifying Ballot, or such further time as the Board may allow.  A ticket with two persons consisting of a Democrat and a Republican shall be deemed to be balanced.  A ticket with two persons of the same party shall be deemed to be imbalanced.

Got that? The Candidate Certification Committee now can determine a presidential ticket the voters might like isn’t “balanced” enough by ideology, with the following standards:

1. If the ticket has two members of the same party, it can’t qualify as “balanced,” even though a Democrat like Zell Miller and a Democrat like Barbara Lee are about as far apart ideologically as you can find among American politicians.

2. If the ticket has one member of the Democratic Party and one member of the Republican Party, then the ticket is presumed to be ideologically balanced, even though a Republican like Susan Collins and a Democrat like Joe Manchin are about as close ideologically as you can find among American politicians. This standard favors the selection of a ticket of “centrist” pro-business politicians who don’t actually bridge a significant ideological distance but who, in a pure coincidence, would happen to agree with the ideological biases of the corporate takeover artists and investment bankers and hedge fund managers and wealth investment specialists who make up the majority of the leadership of Americans Elect.

3. If the ticket has two members of different parties and one of those parties isn’t Democrat or Republican, then it must meet additional standards for qualification, creating favoritism toward a ticket made up of members of the two major parties.

4. Otherwise, the Candidate Certification Committee can decide for whatever reason that a presidential ticket isn’t ideologically qualified to make the Americans Elect cut. And as with all other corporate decisions, regular Americans like you and me can’t overturn the corporate committee’s deliberation unless 2/3 of all people who have ever registered as delegates assemble online and vote to overturn — something that’s never happened in any modern national U.S. Election.

There’s a phrase for that kind of process: “politically correct.” Americans Elect’s rules enforce its own corporate brand of political correctness on what it calls a democratic process. The American people are forced to follow along.

9 thoughts on “New Briefing Book Shows New Means for Americans Elect Meddling with Candidate Selection”

  1. Dove says:

    So if I understand…. Americans are so fed up with politics as usual that we need a way to vote for Both of the usual parties and for a ticket with the same “qualifications of past presidents and vice presidents.” And to help us do that we will have an unelected, unimpeachable board judge the ideologies to make sure they agree with the Board’s ideology (which they promise they don’t have)?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      That’s about it, yeah.

      So what could go wrong, and why haven’t you signed up yet? 😉

  2. Ralph says:

    I’m so fed up with politics as usual! That’s why I’m going to have billionaire financiers pull strings behind the scenes to rig elections, then get the illusion of choice when it’s finally my turn to vote. Hey, wait a minute…

  3. Lee Mortimer says:

    AE does more micromanaging than I’d like. But I’m not sure this post contains anything particularly new. Ever since 2007 when it was Unity08, AE has said its goal is to nominate a cross-partisan ticket that is ideologically balanced and centrist-oriented. In other words, a ticket that fits into the middle of the political spectrum between Republicans and Democrats.

    I don’t think AE claims to be a completely freewheeling process. The recent draft rules more or less formalize how they plan to achieve their long-stated principles. Those are (1) cross partisan, (2) ideologically balanced, (3) centrist-oriented. Such a ticket won’t appeal to a lot of people — and maybe not to me. But having it on the ballot in 2012 could change election dynamics in a beneficial way.

    I agree that the “2/3 rule” to overturn is unreasonable, as is the rule requiring 10 times the number of support clicks to nominate a “non-qualified” candidate. I have had made inquiries to AE about revising the draft rules. They haven’t fully answered my questions, but they’ve been responsive.

  4. SaintTammany says:

    U.S. elections are now and have long been a total sham, and they will continue to degenerate thanks to the preposterous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. There is no meaningful difference between the Republicans and Democrats and has not been at any time in the modern era; to vote Democrat or Republican is merely to enable to the continuance of our long, dark slide into the depths of the dismal Right, where corporations hold more rights than humans, and the common good is sacrificed for the ever-growing profits of the Elite. Any person who willingly identifies himself as a Democrat or Republican, and votes accordingly, IS the problem, and they should be held accountable. Elect a President, not a party.

    1. J. Clifford says:

      A total sham? Total?

      If you want to elect a President, and not a party, then how come you’re supporting Americans Elect, which is a political party?

      It seems that you haven’t thought this through, “Saint”.

      1. Jim Cook says:

        “Elect a President, Not a Party” is the latest advertising tagline of the Americans Elect Corporation/Political Party.

        1. Dove says:

          I’m glad I was sitting down for that one!

  5. Tom says:

    What a sad, sick joke our political system has become – and, as a result, our country too. i’m waiting for the grassroots OWS movement to decide what to do about next year’s all Republican election (which i’m not participating in until there’s a real choice). i expect about March of next year they’ll have something figured out.

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