Grassroots Wave? Americans Elect Sees 200% Rise in Oklahoma Party Registrations
Who’s riding a grassroots wave of support?
On the one hand, we have Americans Elect’s claim to grassroots support as shown in this February 28 photo of former Oklahoma Senator Dan Boren with boxes and boxes and boxes of signatures of people who established Americans Elect as a political party in the state of Oklahoma:
Of course, those signatures were not gathered by passionate, unpaid volunteers. The signatures were obtained by people paid to stand outside supermarkets and cajole people into signing. Did these signatures gathered for money represent a grassroots wave of support?
On the other hand, in August 2012 a renegade group of self-declared leaders of the Oklahoma Americans Elect Party attempted to use the Americans Elect Party’s ballot access line to give Gary Johnson a slot to run for President of the United States in the state of Oklahoma. Americans Elect national corporate leaders, rather than allow this, demanded that its own ballot access be withdrawn in the state. The battle: to obtain a shot at Oklahoma’s seven electors in the presidential contest. The local insurgent group lost.
Of course, the Oklahoma Americans Elect Party leaders are self-declared leaders not recognized by the national Americans Elect corporation. There is no record of any large-scale popular vote to elect the self-declared Oklahoma Americans Elect Party “Chairman,” Rex Lawhorn. The most that can be said for Lawhorn is that he was a fan of the national group, who in the words of Ballot Access News was a “supporter of Americans Elect, from the very beginning of the creation of Americans Elect. He worked hard to set up facebook pages and physical meetings of his fellow Americans Elect members and enthusiasts.” Did the insurgent local actions of a facebook-and-meetup-group-organizer represent the vanguard of a grassroots wave of support for Americans Elect?
Were either the national Americans Elect corporation’s paid collection of signatures or a local group’s self-declaration of automatic access reflective of a grassroots wave of support? To find out, let’s consider the growth of registrations by everyday Oklahomans in the Americans Elect party, and compare that growth to the growth in the Democratic and Republican parties over the same period.
Democratic Party: +2.3%
Republican Party: +5.2%
Americans Elect Party: +200.0%
Wow! That’s a big jump, isn’t it? There must have been a grassroots wave of support for either the national Americans Elect idea or the Oklahoma Americans Elect Party — right?
Wrong. Here are the actual numbers of registrants in June and November 2012:
Oklahoma Democratic Party registrants, June 1 2012: 942,987.
Oklahoma Democratic Party registrants, November 1 2012: 964,847.
# New Registrants: 21,860
Oklahoma Republican Party registrants, June 1 2012: 851,759.
Oklahoma Republican Party registrants, November 1 2012: 895,625.
# New Registrants: 43,866
Oklahoma Americans Elect Party registrants, June 1 2012: 6.
Oklahoma Americans Elect Party registrants, November 1 2012: 18.
# New Registrants: 12
If 12 new registrants added to 6 original registrants represents a grassroots wave, the kiddie pool in the neighbor’s yard across the street represents the Atlantic Ocean. The struggle between these two Americans Elect Party factions in the 2012 election season represented a squabble between two small sets of people, neither of which developed a large base of popular support.