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Substance? Candidates Must answer all Americans Elect Platform of Questions within 90 Seconds

Americans Elect has been promoting itself as a vigorous exercise of democracy by talking up its Platform of Questions, which Americans will draft, sort of:

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. These questions will be formalized by the Platform of Questions Committee to ensure their integrity.

That’s right. A Committee — appointed by and accountable only to the Americans Elect corporate Board of Directors — will actually write the final questions, “to ensure their integrity.” But how much will those questions matter? Read the Americans Elect Draft Rules and you’ll find out how much time candidates are allowed to spend answering them:

2.2.3 Platform of Questions and Video. The Declared Candidate shall submit to the Candidate Certification Committee complete and responsive answers to the Platform of Questions, which shall be posted or linked on the Website and may be searchable for ease of reference by Delegates. The Declared Candidate also shall submit to the Candidate Certification Committee a 90 second Candidate-to-camera high definition video answering each of the Platform of Questions. Additionally, each Declared Candidate may submit a two-minute Candidate-to-camera video stating why he/she should be elected President.

How can a 90-second video, high-definition or not, meaningfully answer an meaningful Platform of Questions? As you already know from watching far too many 90-second videos in politics, it can’t. Either there won’t be many questions, or the answers will have to be trivial, or both. If you’re getting involved in Americans Elect because of its marvelous Platform of Questions, don’t expect too many marvels.

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