You read that right. But before you find out who they are, consider what they will do.
What the Americans Elect Candidate Ejection Committee Does
Americans Elect is the first-ever effort by an American corporation to run its own privatized online presidential nomination. Votes on the first ballot will begin in 124 days, and you’re supposed to be able to make a choice — but only between alternatives that the Americans Elect corporation deems acceptable. The self-appointed Americans Elect corporate Board of Directors will appoint a Candidate Certification Committee, which serves at the corporate board’s pleasure, can be reshuffled at the corporate board’s will, and is empowered in two ways to reject candidates that it does not consider suitable. Certification doesn’t sound so bad, but it has a complement: decertification, exclusion, ejection. This is a Candidate Ejection Committee.
According to the corporate bylaws of Americans Elect, the first standard by which the Candidate Certification Committee can eject a presidential candidate who voters might otherwise support is by deeming them “incapable of performing the duties of president”:
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…
In other words, this 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.
According to Rule 8.0 of the Draft Rules of Americans Elect, the second standard by which the Candidate Certification Committee can eject a presidential ticket that voters might otherwise support is by deeming it to be ideologically incorrect:
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.
The Platform of Questions is an ideological litmus test asking questions regarding various issue positions. The final content of these questions will be determined by the corporate-board-appointed Platform of Questions Committee (see Rule 184.108.40.206). If the Candidate Certification Committee determines a ticket to be unbalanced, then out it goes, even if Americans Elect delegates would otherwise support it.
Delegates can hypothetically overturn these decisions — but it would take a 2/3 vote by all people who have ever signed up online to be delegates. This includes all the people who sign up to be delegates on a whim and then forget about it, and as anyone who’s spent time online knows, that portion online tends to be high. All the people who don’t show up for the vote will be counted as if they would like to keep the committee’s decision as it is. Check out turnout statistics for national elections over the last fifty years (courtesy U.S. Elections Project). As you can see below, not once in the last fifty years have 2/3 of registered voters ever turned out to vote.
Human behavior virtually guarantees that the decisions of its Candidate Ejection Committee will never be overturned.
Who the Candidate Ejection Committee is
So who will be sitting on this candidate ejection committee? Americans Elect has just named the first three committee members. They are:
— Professor of Sociology and Political Science, Stanford University
— Member, Council on Foreign Relations
— Former Chairman of the Board, RAND Corporation
— Former Director, FBI
— Former Director, CIA
— Chairman, Homeland Security and Advisory Council to the United States Goverment
— Member, Council on Foreign Relations
What is the RAND Corporation? It’s an ostensibly independent non-profit organization that was founded by the U.S. Air Force, is funded by seven different units of the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security, and houses three different federally funded research and development centers on military matters.
All on the Council on Foreign Relations. One a major intelligence chief. Another a major player in military policy and research contracts. What interesting choices to decide what presidential candidates the rest of us should be able to choose between.