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Americans Elect Presidential Candidates Fall Further Away from Easy Ballot Access Threshold

For a serious presidential candidate with real grassroots support, it wouldn’t be that hard to qualify for the Americans Elect presidential ballot. 1,000 signatures in each of 10 states for insiders? Even without a dime, Howard Dean’s supporters could have accomplished that in a day. 5,000 signatures in each of 10 states for outsiders? Ralph Nader’s followers filled entire stadiums with people in 2000 on the basis of sheer excitement (and, it must be said, the overwhelming celebrity draw of Phil Donahue).

But Americans Elect candidates are not Howard Dean in 2004, or Ralph Nader in 2000. They’re not eliciting an overwhelming wave of grassroots support, and Americans Elect isn’t helping either. Americans Elect is demanding a variety of personal information from you including your full name, your date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number — while it won’t reveal the names or even the professions of its major multi-million-dollar donors. Privacy-conscious Americans are understandably hesitant about giving away their personal information to such an opaque corporation. What Americans Elect swears up-and-down are not its goals turn out later to have been its goals all along. Given the power of the Americans Elect corporate board to overrule Americans’ votes to put a candidate on the ballot, it’s understandable that Americans have been leery.

How leery? AE Transparency’s Bill Busa has run the numbers through March 31 2012, and has this graph to share:

From AE Transparency: First Round Voting Progress of Americans Elect through March 31 2012

How close are the top Americans Elect candidates to qualifying? The red-dotted line indicates where they should be now that the time period of voting to qualify presidential candidates for the Americans Elect ballot is two-thirds over. None of the presidential contenders are anywhere close to that pace — and the pace of additional votes for the top Americans Elect presidential contenders is actually slowing, from 1564 new votes cast two weeks ago to just 1165 new votes cast last week.

This is a nationally publicized election we’re talking about, and there are more people living in my very small town than have voted for the front-runner, Ron Paul. Ron Paul has run away from the Americans Elect draft process and his followers have become convinced that there’s a conspiracy against his proponents being run from the inside of the Americans Elect corporation. In the meantime, the top declared candidate — Buddy Roemer — has far to go toward the goal of getting 1,000 votes to support him in 10 states. After a month in which he’s dedicated himself to a full-throttle social media campaign and has nabbed solo national appearances on media outlets like CBS, MSNBC and NPR, Roemer’s 10-state vote total is just 1,304 out of the needed 10,000 votes this morning:

Buddy Roemer's 10-state vote total as of April 1 2012: only 13% of the way to his goal with 2/3 of the voting period already over.

People have heard of Americans Elect. They’re just not interested. Where does Americans Elect go from here? In a new essay, John Lumea speculates that

even if Americans Elect manages to get on the ballot in most, or all 50, states, its wing-clipped messaging of recent days suggests that, in the House of Ackerman, political reality is coming home to roost…

“Throwing Down the Gauntlet or Throwing in the Towel?” is Lumea’s title, and he might not be far off. While Roemer tries in vain to swing voters to his cause, Americans Elect’s advertising budget seems to have slacked off according to Ispionage statistics:

Ispionage estimation of Americans Elect advertising... plummeting in March of 2012.

Has Americans Elect at long last given up?

6 comments to Americans Elect Presidential Candidates Fall Further Away from Easy Ballot Access Threshold

  • Many thanks for the mention, Jim.

    One suggestion I make is that the newly muted messaging from Americans Election is an explicit function of the unwillingness of insiders like Christie Whitman and David Boren — people whose support Americans Elect really needs — to stick their necks out for Americans Elect, absent the candidacy of a political celebrity like Mike Bloomberg.

    It’s interesting — to me, anyway — that Bloomberg, in his WSJ op-ed this week pushing the strategy of adopting Simpson-Bowles and ending the Bush tax cuts, picked up one of the three planks of the ultimatum to “the two parties” that Whitman and Boren, joined by Bill Cohen, delivered in their own Politico op-ed a couple of weeks ago.

    Whitman, Boren and Cohen concluded the Politico piece by saying that

    [v]oters must also, of course, carefully evaluate the Americans Elect ticket, with a Republican and a Democrat, to determine whether it merits endorsement and support.

    Which — “of course” — is another way of telegraphing to potential Americans Elect candidates: “If you want our support, you’ll have to commit to at least these three things.”

    Not that there’s any serious doubt that these cen-siders would wave the D-R plank for Bloomberg — or that they would back him anyway, if he should throw his hat in the Americans Elect ring.

    But, given the timing of Bloomberg’s foray, fast on the heels of the one by Americans Elect leaders Whitman and Boren — Capital reports that, on the same day as his WSJ op-ed, Bloomberg

    appeared on “CBS Morning” with Charlie Rose and made much the same case. An hour later, he appeared on a panel at the Pierre Hotel with Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles….

    I still am not convinced that Bloomberg has completely shut the door on a bid.

    But

    • Bill

      John, while I don’t much care for Bloomers myself, I at least have to respect his intelligence. And I find it hard to believe that an intelligent guy (Rocky Anderson excepted) would touch Americans Elect with a ten-foot pole at this point, given its ever-lengthening record of buffoonery and the media pile-on that has (finally) begun. Social Security used to be the ‘third rail’ of American politics, but that has changed. And since Politics, like Nature, abhors a vacuum, Americans Elect has rushed into the void and is fast becoming the New Third Rail Of American Politics. You pretty much have to have already exhausted literally every other possibility, like Buddy “D-R-AE” Roemer, before you could be driven into AECorp’s arms. And Bloomers isn’t there yet.

      On the other hand, Bloomers and Pete Ackerman are reportedly good old buddies (how could it be otherwise — they have so much in common). It is easy to imagine Pete weepingly imploring Mike, in champagne-sodden conversation, to pleeeeease swallow his pride and step in to clean up the mess that Americans Elect has become, as well as the blot on Pete’s previously anonymous reputation. Maybe Bloomberg is just soft-hearted enough to throw an old buddy a life preserver. Certainly his recent media forays look a lot like water-testing (a la the David Walker non-event of a few weeks ago).

      May you live in interesting times, Americans Elect.

      • Well, yes — not completely closing the door is not the same as opening it.

        Another (Bloomberg-related) Index of Desperation is how long it seems to have taken David Boren to show up at Americans Elect.

        Boren, you’ll recall, hosted the January 2008 confab of centrists calling for “unity” tickets and bipartisan cooperation, which took place in Oklahoma City. This was around the time of the most heated speculation about a Bloomberg run in 2008 — and attendees included Bloomberg himself; Boren’s fellow pro-AE editorialists Christie Whitman and Bill Cohen; Bob Graham; Chuck Hagel; and Sam Nunn.

        So, one would have thought that Boren would be an obvious fit for Americans Elect. And although he is not yet on the Leadership list at AE.org, he is indeed identified here as a member of the Board of Advisors.

        But, although Boren was a ubiquitous media presence for Americans Elect in March, he does not appear to have been an “early adopter.” The first formal indication that Boren was “onboard” is this New York Times item on 28 February and this Americans Elect press release on the same day, which includes a quote from Elliot Ackerman saying that “Americans Elect welcomes…Gov. Boren.”

        A hail Mary from Americans Elect?

        What took Americans Elect so long to secure the support of someone who seems so obviously to be a fellow traveler?

  • Charles Manning (manning120)

    I haven’t had time to follow in detail Americans Elect’s progress, or lack thereof. When I first heard about it, it sounded like a great idea. I was still convinced there was some merit to the program when my favorite candidate, Rocky Anderson, decided to make a bid in AE. But the repeated reports in Irregular Times, along with what little I heard elsewhere, have turned me off. The complications of participating in AE also turned me off.

    Several weeks ago, the NewsHour ran an interview with Christine Todd Whitman and David Boren in which they stated that the aim of AE is to place a presidential slate on the ballot nationwide consisting of one Democrat and one Republican. I had never heard of this, even though I tried to become active in AE last fall. If that’s the agenda, and Irregular Times contributors haven’t denied that it is, I see no future in the organization for Anderson, or anyone I could support. Anderson’s early thinking about the campaign in Wikipedia decisively rejected any candidacy from either of the major parties; he limits his involvement with them to the idea that if elected, he would work with other elected and otherwise selected officials regardless of party affiliation.

    At this point I still don’t understand how AE could get people on ballots who haven’t otherwise qualified under the rules that rule out political success for all but the candidates favored by the MSM and the moneyed interests that fund their campaigns, including PACs and Super PACs. (Can anyone explain how that AE could do that?)

    The candidates favored by the rigged electoral system apparently haven’t thought about the major issues facing our country – or at least are forbidden to discuss them — such as erosion of civil liberties and humanitarian ideals, control of the nation by the military industrial complex, the necessity for action on global warming and pollution, protection of the right recognized by Roe v. Wade, recognition of the rights of gays such as the right to marry, reform of the Federal Reserve, maintenance of separation of church and state, and the emergence of mainstream media “news” outlets that are actually tightly controlled propaganda organs for the 1%.

    Putting yet more Democrats or Republicans up for election would do no good for anyone like me who isn’t willing to play the lesser of evils game. But if AE could get high quality third party or unaffiliated candidates on the ballot, I would be interested. Meanwhile, it looks more and more like Anderson has to hold out for 2016, although even given the extra time, the task of achieving a place on the ballot in 2016 seems daunting.

    Jill Stein has taken the lead on ballot access. If only we could get some kind of run-off or primary system going to allow those of us fed up with the major parties to choose among people like Stein, Anderson, Richardson, etc., and have the weaker candidates defer to the strongest. . . .

    • Joshua

      Charles: As I understand it, AE has already managed to qualify the party for at least 17 state ballots for November (that’s as of the March 1 issue of “Ballot Access News”; it doesn’t include any of the states that may have been added in March), by qualifying via a generic petition for the party or by listing “stand-in candidates” on the petition who will be replaced once the actual ticket is known (as minor parties have often done in the past in some states).

      Thus, whoever become the AE nominees will be assured of positions on a significant number of state ballots, and while they may have to arrange for some petitions in the remaining states, they will have an easier time than if they had to take care of all the petitioning themselves.

      With regard to “the rules that rule out political success for all but the candidates favored by the MSM and the moneyed interests,” well, I don’t expect the AE ticket to have “political success” in the election. But just as Libertarian, Green, and other minor parties have made it onto the presidential ballot in numerous states in the past, so will the AE candidates this year, assuming that AE changes its rules to enable somebody to be nominated.

      I may have misinterpreted your question, but that’s how I see it.

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