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A Weak Week in Votes and Tweets for Americans Elect

As AE Transparency notes, another week has passed during which the Americans Elect presidential contenders have failed to attract enough supporters to qualify for the May 8 Americans Elect presidential primary ballot — the nation’s first-ever privatized all-online presidential nomination vote. Americans Elect set a fairly low standard for political insiders to gain ballot access — just 1,000 votes of support in each of 10 states. Despite coverage by all major TV news networks and newspapers, Americans Elect failed to attract people in significant numbers, and so made its low standard easier to meet by adding months to its deadlines. But despite a low bar and an elastic deadline, even the most popular declared Americans Elect candidate, Buddy Roemer, just isn’t that popular. This morning, after months of effort to attract supporters, Roemer has obtained just 15.9% of the number of votes he needs to get on the May 8 Americans Elect primary ballot. No other declared candidate comes close to even Roemer’s low level of support.

If there’s going to be some last-minute come-from-behind rally, it will have to happen even more quickly than the May 8 primary date suggests. That’s because, according to the official Americans Elect Rules, candidates must reach the 1,000-votes-in-each-of-10-states threshold 7 days before a primary ballot. That’s May 1st, just 16 days away.

Is there any sign of an overwhelming wave of grassroots movement to Americans Elect? Because Americans Elect is an all-online affair, we should be able to spot such a wave over at the social network Twitter, where online trendsters signal their moves. The following statistics describe Twitter posts featuring the name “Americans Elect” or the hashtag #AmericansElect over the past week, from April 8 to April 14 2012:

Total # of “Americans Elect” or #AmericansElect Tweets from 4/8 – 4/14: 351, posted from 235 unique Twitter accounts

Tweets expressing positive a sentiment toward Americans Elect: 111

Tweets expressing neutral a sentiment: 120

Tweets expressing negative a sentiment: 120

Tweets mentioning particular presidential candidates:
Buddy Roemer: 48
Ron Paul: 39
Mitt Romney: 26
Barack Obama: 14
Jill Stein: 11
Rocky Anderson: 9
Michealene Risley: 6
David Walker: 7
Mitch Daniels: 1
Tom Golisano: 1
Gary Johnson: 1

In comparison, there were 191314 tweets about Barack Obama, 89464 tweets about Mitt Romney, and 8622 tweets about Snooki during the same period of time.

There’s no tidal wave of support coming to sweep any of these candidates onto the May 8 ballot. The vote counts and the Twitter record show nary a ripple. Unless Americans Elect changes the rules in the middle of its ballot-access vote, it looks like it will have nobody at all on its May 8 primary ballot.

11 comments to A Weak Week in Votes and Tweets for Americans Elect

  • Joshua

    Americans Elect set a fairly low standard for political insiders to gain ballot access, and lowered that standard even further when it failed to attract popular support — just 1,000 votes of support in each of 10 states.

    Actually, the 1,000 supporters in each of 10 states for insider candidates has been in place since the draft rules in September 2011. In December, the rules were changed for outsider candidates, to reduce their requirements from 10,000 supporters in each of 10 states to 5,000 supporters in each of 10 states; the requirements for insiders remained the same.

    Then, after the drafting process opened on January 31, it soon became apparent that nobody was on pace to make the ballot. Instead of lowering the supporter requirements when AE failed to attract popular support, they changed the primary schedule to give candidates about a month longer to qualify for the ballot.

    Also, as part of the most recent rules change, it became possible for a candidate to qualify for a later primary ballot if the candidate didn’t get their minimum number of supporters by the qualification date for the first primary ballot. Thus, a candidate who gets the 1,000×10 supporters by May 14 will be able to qualify for the third and last primary ballot, even if they didn’t make it to the first or second primary ballot.

    Of course, nobody is on pace even to meet the 1,000 supporters x 10 state requirements by May 14, and I’m puzzled as to why the AE board has delayed so long before reducing the requirements even further, unless they would be satisfied to cancel their primaries and nominate nobody for president at all.

    • Thanks for writing, Joshua. You’re right about the standard change being one of increased time for insider candidates, and I wasn’t clear about that in my writing. I’ve polished up that sentence in the article to be more clear.

      The existence of the second and third ballots are important formally, but the first ballot is really important in terms of legitimacy — if Americans Elect can’t get a single candidate on its first ballot, the difficulty in characterizing it as a “grassroots movement” with a straight face (see Americans Elect’s home page, right at the bottom) becomes fixed in concrete.

      • Joshua

        They extended the time to qualify for the ballot for all candidates, both insiders and outsiders. All candidates needed the extra time, and they still need even more time beyond that which they don’t have under the current rules.

    • Joshua, perhaps the explanation lies in the fact that since, according to its Bylaws, AECorp’s Board of Directors (i.e., Pete “The Godfather” Ackerman) can bestow the Corporation’s nomination on whomever it wishes, they’re just not all that concerned about the voting.

      After all, herding the muppets can be soooo tiresome.

  • Raising the eternal question, “What if you bought a Party and nobody came?”
    Thanks for the link, Jim.

  • Nobody Asked Me...But,

    Thank you, Mr. Cook for taking the time to analyze this AE affair so thoroughly.

    I think that AE has hit a wall in large part because of your continuing examination and publication of informative articles on the internet. I guess that its founders did not anticipate that there would be anyone of your caliber willing to dedicate so much time to transparency and honesty regarding their innovative attempt to gain political influence and power.

    Recently, the position taken by Jill Stein, that she would have nothing to do with this sham, has had to hurt AE. Also, AE must have suffered from the widespread report on the internet that people on Rocky Anderson’s staff have quit when he aligned himself with AE as a willing declared candidate (caution, I do not know if this is true or just a false rumor).

    Regarding their frontrunner, Buddy Roemer, I was his supporter until he switched from Republican to seek the AE nomination, and I learned much about AE from your articles and Mr. Lumea’s comments. That led me to research about Buddy Roemer and I found he would be a disaster as President and, because of his excellent ability as a speaker, he poses a danger to the nation if he could get on a ballot and spoil the election as a third party candidate, giving the election to the less favored of the Republican and Democratic candidates. I have been posting comments on the internet to warn the public about him.

    So, I believe your efforts here have been important and have helped America in many ways.

  • VAGreen

    Here’s how we do it in the Green Party. IF AE had something similar, they probably wouldn’t be having this difficulty:

    ARTICLE X RECOGNITION OF DECLARED CANDIDATES FOR THE GREEN PARTY NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT

    Section 10-1 Eligibility

    An individual may become an officially recognized candidate for the Green Party nomination for President provided that he/she:

    10-1.1 Submits a filled out official Candidate Questionnaire to the Presidential Campaign Support Committee;

    10-1.2 Is not a registrant of any state or national level political party in the individual’s primary state of residence except for a state party which has affiliated with GPUS, or a party forming for the intent of GPUS affiliation in a state where there is no GPUS affiliated state party;

    10-1.3 Has pledged in writing to the Presidential Campaign Support Committee to appear on all offered statewide Green Party ballot lines;

    10-1.4 Has a website to promote his/her candidacy.

    10-1.5 Receives verifiable support from 100 Green Party members, including members from at least five state parties; this requirement is not applicable until December 1st of the year preceding the presidential election;

    10-1.6 Establishes a campaign committee and files with the Federal Elections Commission; this requirement is not applicable until December 31st of the year preceding the presidential election;

    10-1.7 Raises at least $5,000, not including self-financing, for the purpose of his/her campaign; this requirement is not applicable until February 1st of the year of the presidential election;

    10-1.8 Has made a good faith effort to participate in the presidential preference processes of state Green Parties, either by sending a declaration of candidacy to those state parties, by seeking to appear on the ballot where there is a party primary and/or by otherwise seeking to comply with the relevant procedures for inclusion in a state party’s preference process.

  • Charles Manning (manning120)

    I’ve written before about my difficulty in casting a vote for my candidate, Anderson, on AE. The situation is unchanged. No one has responded to my requests for assistance in overcoming the obstacles to casting a vote. So I still wonder how many others have attempted but failed to negotiate the AE labyrinth. Can this explain the low numbers in the tallies?

    Additionally, no one has responded to my question concerning AE’s policy on who will be granted ballot access through their process. Whitman and Boren said it has to be a Democrat and a Republican. Yet it appears that people not belonging to those parties can be declared or undeclared candidates in AE.

    • Joshua

      Charles: The official AE rules, as they currently stand, provide that the presidential/vice presidential ticket is supposed to be “balanced” and “A ticket with two persons consisting of a Democrat and a Republican shall be deemed to be balanced.” I do think that the AE organizers were contemplating a Democratic and Republican pair as their eventual ticket.

      However, the Candidate Certification Committee can determine other combinations to be balanced, based on the candidates’ responses to the AE platform of questions, as long as both the president and VP candidates are not members of the same party. (Party membership is based on the party the person has been a member of the majority of the time since 2008 — so Buddy Roemer would be classified as a Republican even though he has left the party.) The rules provide that the ticket doesn’t have to include either a Democrat or a Republican.

      There is also an AE rule that nobody who is otherwise eligible to serve as president will be disqualified from AE because of having been a member or candidate of another political party. So they aren’t supposed to limit the race to Democrats and Republicans.

      Some might suggest that the Candidate Certification Committee might be used to accept the tickets of favored candidates as “balanced” and reject the tickets of unfavored candidates as “imbalanced,” requiring the less favored candidates to have to look harder to find a potential running mate. However, the committee has a more obvious problem in that no candidates are on track to qualify for the AE nomination, so they are probably going to have to change the rules in order to allow somebody to become the nominee. Since Buddy Roemer is probably the most likely AE nominee if they do change the rules, he can select any Democrat (or recent ex-Democrat) as his running mate and thus have his ticket automatically qualify as balanced.

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