RE: AmericansElect.Org - Occupy the White House?
I'm thinking of running for president. And you can too. I'm not kidding.
I recently attended a conference in Washington DC as a 'delegate leader' for a ballot access organization called AmericansElect.org. The goal of this group is to place a third option for US President, on the ballot in all fifty states. This will happen, you'll see it if you vote in November 2012.
Here is their website: http://www.americanselect.org/about
I'm writing to see if there are any people in OWS that would like to explore participating in this, and seeing how far it can go.
At AmericansElect.org, there will be four rounds of voting in May (8th, 15th and 22nd), which will produce 6 finalists. Then the 6 finalists will do a runoff to determine the winner, sometime in June (12th, 19th and 26th). Right now, the candidate with the top number of "supporters" has just over 2,000. The 2nd highest has just over 1,000. The 6th highest has just over 400 supporters.
The point is, the threshold for getting into one or more of the 6 finalists slots, may well be pretty doable.
Which is to say, there is a very real and unique opportunity right now to promote a vision of government by consensus on a national basis, with a tangible action and tangible result.
With enough support, it may well be possible to hold more than one of the six finalist spots.
I'm not attached to running myself, although I do have things I'd like to say. I'm sure others do as well. I think the first question is, does anyone care to discuss this, and perhaps raise it with the General Assembly in some way?
Thanks for reading, and hope to discuss soon. (See below for a little more background on the group, and my thoughts on all this).
A Little more background for the curious -
AmericansElect.org is a non-party ballot access group, and is prohibited by law from supporting any candidate or party. From what I saw, the people who are joining are from all over the political spectrum, and probably reflect the current political scene, and divisions.
AE is content neutral, but geared towards picking moderates. For example, the winning candidate must agree to pick a running mate from the opposite party (or if an independent, then pick one who holds generally opposing views, based on an on-line questionnaire they provide on the site).
Similarly, the board can reject a candidate as unqualified, although that vote can be overridden by a simple majority of votes, unless the board rejection is unanimous. But a candidate can only be rejected after the voting, so posting a candidate to the site for the primary vote to be in the final six, should be easy enough.
Some candidates though, are considered automatically validated, those with previous positions of leadership, like being in congress, a CEO of a private company of a certain size, or president of a university with a certain number of students, and so on. In other words, “establishment figures”.
This is probably the biggest difference I noticed between AmericansElect and OWS.
The major backers and board of directors at AmericansElect.org probably don’t think there is a problem with the political system as it currently functions. They think the problem is a lack of moderate leaders who can unite the public around common goals and needs. So that’s what they’re trying to do.
OWS (if its ok to try to speak in gross generalities), seems to view the political system itself as continuing to produce terrible and unfair results. So for OWS, whoever is elected, is less relevant than what they can do from within a corrupt political system.
My thinking is that these views are not contradictory, and can be reconciled. That by integrating the ballot access tools of AmericansElect, and the goals of OWS, many if not all of the concerns of OWS can actually be 'solved', as a practical matter.
But I don’t mean 'solved' by the elected leaders acting alone. I mean solved by the people voicing their support for the policies proposed by elected leaders who behave with integrity, as in the recent SOPA and PIPA contests.
The AE group is well funded with something like $35 million to accomplish the mission, and in future election cycles, hopes to move “down ballot” meaning they will extend ballot access to state and local elections. This type of on-line voting to achieve ballot access is a direct challenge to the two party system in the US. And I can’t help but see that as a positive step forward.
The source of funding of the group has been a source of interest and speculation. My understanding is that there was an initial investment of $5 million from Peter Ackerman, a wealthy investor, and the father of the chief policy officer, Elliot Ackerman. Beyond that it is a mix of large and small donors. No money is given to candidates.
My sense is that the initial backers and the board of AE tend to lean republican, mostly from a sense of concern over the extremism in the republican party, especially in the primary process. But so what? Whoever wins, wins. And it all comes down to who gets the most votes. Seems like a shame to pass up the opportunity.
Anyone think this is worth pursuing?