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In Post to Financiers, Douglas Schoen Indicates Americans Elect will Move Forward Without Democracy

Forbes, the magazine of record for America’s financiers, published an editorial by Douglas Schoen, longtime advisor to both Americans Elect and Michael Bloomberg. In this editorial, Schoen praised the decision by three Wall Street tycoons — Peter Ackerman, John Burbank III and Michael Bloomberg — to chip in $1.75 million of their own money to Americans Elect and spend it, through the Americans Elect Super PAC, on the election of Angus King to the Senate. Schoen writes:

Candidate Angus King’s victory in the Maine Senate race is one such ray of hope…. It also involved a coalition between Americans Elect, the group which succeeded in getting 50 state ballot access but failed to recruit a Presidential candidate, its visionary chairman Peter Ackerman and Mayor Michael Bloomberg who made a significant contribution to King’s campaign. Even though the Bloomberg/Americans Elect endeavor — one that I was truly proud to be part of — was outspent nearly 5 to 1, King still managed an overwhelming victory.

Schoen indicates that Americans Elect’s Super PAC spending will continue in future elections, with the $1.75 million in Wall Street money just a “first step,” a “beginning” effort:

The efforts of Americans Elect and particularly the efforts of Mayor Bloomberg around the country are a tremendous first step in promoting the type of bipartisanship we will need to avoid fiscal and economic problems in the near future. They have begun the process of crafting a new, moderate and bi-partisan vision for America, a vision that we so desperately need.

I was proud to be part of those efforts both in Maine and around the country and believe that it is only through the effort to create independent caucuses in both the House and Senate that we have a chance to resolve the endemic problems we face in our country.

Schoen’s editorial calls for the continued spending of big Wall Street money on elections by Americans Elect, spending that happened without any of the input on the decision to which rank-and-file Americans Elect delegates are entitled. In his editorial, Schoen called repeatedly for the creation of a caucus in the Congress to the liking of his employer, Michael Bloomberg. Schoen called for lawmakers to stop agreeing and “come together” around the set of policy proposals Americans Elect and Michael Bloomberg prefer.

But if you read carefully, you’ll notice an activity that Douglas Schoen doesn’t call for, a word Douglas Schoen doesn’t use.

That missing word is “democracy.” Schoen doesn’t call for a democracy. In lauding the deployment of Americans Elect funds, Schoen calls for more Wall Street spending on elections — a result — and not a democratic process.

4 comments to In Post to Financiers, Douglas Schoen Indicates Americans Elect will Move Forward Without Democracy

  • manning120

    No one has ever explained to me how Americans Elect could get “50 state ballot access” without a candidate. Ballot access, or rather the legal impediments to it, is a top issue for third party and independent candidates.

    • Most states let groups become qualified parties before those groups have nominated anyone. And for the eleven states that require a petition that names a candidate, they generally let the group use a stand-in candidate, who resigns later when the actual nominee is chosen.

    • Joshua

      It’s misleading for Doug Schoen’s column to say that AE “succeeded in getting 50 state ballot access.” AE stopped pursuing ballot access in May when they abandoned the idea of a presidential campaign. They might have gotten 50-state ballot access if they had stuck with it and actually run a presidential candidate, and I don’t think they missed the deadline in any state before they quit. But they never actually made it to 50-state ballot access.

      Also, to reiterate AETransparency’s point, Angus King led in the polls in Maine, by a wide margin, long before AE started campaigning for him. AE taking credit for his win is like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise.

  • Like everything AECorp has ever done, its King’s Gambit was utterly bewildering. At the very late stage at which Ackerman, Burbank, and Bloomberg crashed into Maine with AECorp’s $1.75 million carpetbag in support of King he was already up by double digits in the polls versus his Democratic and Republican opponents — roughly the same percentage by which he ultimately won. At best, the AECorp ad blitz merely needlessly buttressed an already sure-thing campaign. At worst, it threatened to (though ultimately did not) inject a counter-productive new narrative into the campaign, one concerning big out-of-state money elbowing in. Thus, AECorp’s interference certainly didn’t tip the election, and probably didn’t buy much loyalty from King, because he was already winning handily.

    So what was the point? Kremlin-watchers here at AE Transparency suspect it was merely a dry run for 2014, first and foremost to test public reaction to AECorp’s transmogrification into a SuperPAC (answer: nobody much cared), and second to establish some bona fides AECorp can now point to when it comes time to rustle up a whole new herd of suckers (err, donors). The latter seems, to us, most important; with AECorp’s ignominious failure earlier this year as a non-partisan (sic) non-party (sic sic) it had absolutely nothing to show for the $40+ million in donations it had burned through. So the donations of Burbank and Bloomberg (old buddies of Ackerman), while nothing more than pocket-change to these billionaires, were most helpful in re-priming the pump, to give Pete Ackerman another chance to demonstrate that he maybe could do something in the political sphere without totally screwing it up (for a change). Wisely, Ackerman chose the simplest demonstration project possible: backing a sure winner.

    While Ackerman heaves a sigh of relief (he didn’t screw it up for once), pats himself on the back, and prepares to go all-in for 2014 (with an eye toward promoting Bloomberg’s campaign for president in 2016), others (ourselves included) will be working to prod the IRS to enforce existing laws which bar 501(c)(4)s such as AECorp from partisan political activities. May the best man win.

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