Third-Party Group Wants Internet to Pick Presidential Candidate
Americans Elect, backed by $5 million from the head of a private investment firm, wants to shake up the two-party system
Driven by Americans' widespread dissatisfaction with both Democrats and Republicans, Americans Elect is trying to shake up the 2012 election by obtaining ballot access in all 50 states for a yet-to-be-named presidential candidate. The group says it has been ballot certified in 16 states, awaiting confirmation in another 14 and is gathering signatures to be on the ballot in the other 20.
"It's so spoiled right now, it's so dysfunctional. How can we not do something? At some point, we have to do something," says Americans Elect spokeswoman
The group is lead by
As candidates announce their independent quest for the country's top office, Americans Elect will hold online "qualifying rounds" to reduce their field to six. Those left will then select a vice presidential nominee, though it must be someone from a different political party or ideology. Delegates will be selected from registered voters who enroll online, attending a convention in June in order to vote for their nominee.
"We're taking this directly to the people; we're taking the power really away from the parties so the people are really engaging in the process and nominating candidates they want to see," Wachtel says. "It's really about creating new way to pick a president."
Once a nominee is selected, they would be responsible for raising their own money and running their own campaign.
Wachtel says the movement is seeing a lot of grassroots support - particularly on college campuses - though there are plenty of skeptics about how much of an impact Americans Elect will have in November.
"Party identification is a really powerful influence on people's voting behaviors," says
Hayes says he understands the public's disapproval with the two major parties, but denies those feelings would translate to success for a third-party candidate.
"People don't like political parties because they are always blamed for gridlock and for the attacks on others, and they seem like these organizations that don't do any good," he says. "But they aggregate the public's interests together and they organize and politick to help pursue those interests. It's a little bit disingenuous to suggest that if we just had a candidate who didn't have a party label that all would be solved."
"There's really only been one successful third party, and that was the Republican party that came about in the wake and collapse of the old Whig party over the issue of slavery," Smith says. "Good government is not really the kind of an issue that is going to motivate people to drop long-standing ties to the party of their birth, so to speak, and take up with another party that isn't really a party."
Both professors concede that history doesn't ultimately predict Americans Elect will be an afterthought in this year's election.
"In a situation where the two candidates are divided by a razor-thin margin, the presence of any other candidate on the ballot, whether it be
Wachtel is optimistic that the movement will gain momentum after credible candidates become affiliated with the party. She believes if the group can garner enough support in 2012 to automatically qualify for ballots in 2014 and 2016, the effort will have been a success.
"If someone who is credible announces [a candidacy], I think you're going to see people flooding to that candidate at this point," she says. "If we can make a difference, run a credible candidate, get on the 50 states and have that ballot access remain in 2014 and 2016 and start to change the way we engage in politics, that is successful."
Nominees already featured on the site range from
Read the latest political news.
- Stock Market Picks 90 Percent of Presidential Elections
- Twitter Mentality a Threat to America
- God and Caesar in America
- The God Gap
- When the Senate Worked
- The Congressional Thaw
- Failed Highway Bill Shows Just How Fanatical GOP Has Become
- Starving Public Universities Shrinks the Middle Class
- The GOP's Worst Week
- Why Marco Rubio Can't Save the GOP
- Third-Party Group Wants Internet to Pick Presidential Candidate
- Buddy Roemer to Seek Third-Party Presidential Nomination
- Debt, Baby, Debt: America's Newest Voting Bloc
- GOP Candidates Could All Add to Federal Deficit
- Who is the True GOP Conservative?
- Rick Santorum: The GOP's Unelectable Soul Mate
- Getting to Know Them
- No Republican Middle
- Note to GOP Field: Braggadocio Is Not Leadership
- Rick Santorum Repulses Independent and Moderate Voters
- What Rick Santorum Has Been Saying, And 'Not Saying'
- Only Santorum Addresses Values Issues that Concern Voters
- Rick Santorum Appeals to Only a Minority of Voters
- Mitt Romney Is More Electable, But Needs to Clean Up Campaign
- Both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum Disappoint Conservatives
- Mitt Romney Can't Be Trusted So Rick Santorum Is More Electable
- Romney's Arizona Law 'Model' Would Hurt All Immigrants
- The Manufacturing Myth
- GOP Candidates Revive Bush Pre-emption Doctrine
- The Tricky Politics of the Auto Bailout
- Protesting Today's Threat to Voting Rights
- Turning a Blind Eye to Government Benefits
- Obama Fights Back on GOP Gas-Price Attacks
- How Sex Hijacked Election Talk
- Rick Santorum's Reverse Snobbery
- Mr. Right Eludes the GOP
- Latino Voters to Candidates: What Are We, Chopped Chorizo?
- Lack of Enthusiasm Isn't Just a GOP Problem
- A Brokered GOP Convention?
- Obama's Cynicism for Me, Not for Thee
- Brash Limbaugh
- The Supreme Court: Politicizing Justice
- Muddying the Playing Field
- National Deficit Result of Wars and Bush Tax Cuts
- Five Ways to Spin Obama Tax Plan
- Social Issues Bring in Popular Vote for Republicans
- Republicans Can Win on Economic Issues, Not a Culture War
- Social Issues Are at the Core of Our Problems
- Republicans Should Focus on the Economy
- GOP Needs to Rethink Positions on Economy, Foreign Policy
- Republican Mean Streak Could Leave GOP Out in the Cold
- Extra Dollars You're Paying At Pump Going To Wall Street Speculators
- A Farewell to Fossil Fuels
- United States Can't Control the World Oil Market
- The Future of U.S. - Chinese Relations
- If American Manufacturers Keep Jobs, So Does Obama
- GOP Will Lose in 2012 if Social Issues Take Center Stage
- Why Looks Are Everything in a Presidential Election
- Swing Voters Need a Champion
- Good Businessmen Rarely Make Good Presidents
- Un-Presidential Primaries
- Inside Rick Santorum's Head
- Improving Economy Driving Independents Back to Obama
Third-Party Group Wants Internet to Pick Presidential Candidate | Politics
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services