March 12, 2012

Americans Elect closing in on a Presidential Nominee

March 12, 2012. Cyberspace. With just two months before the nation’s newest political party begins its caucus to select a Presidential nominee, the new party Americans Elect looks to test out a process for nominating a Presidential candidate like America has never seen before. Attempting to bypass all political parties, especially the Republicans and Democrats, a group of former Democrat and Republican power-players launched an idea they called Americans Elect.

Americans Elect will hold its national caucus in May and its Presidential nominating convention in June.

According to the group, “The goal of Americans Elect is to nominate a Presidential ticket that answers directly to voters – not the political system.” The structure and its organizers promise, “A greater voice for all Americans, no matter their party.” Explaining who can participate, either as a member/voter or as a candidate, Americans Elect says, “Every registered voter can be a delegate. Any Constitutionally-eligible American citizen can be a candidate.”

“American voters are tired of politics as usual,” the Americans Elect website touts, “They want leaders that will put their country before their party, and American interests before special interests. Leaders who will work together to develop fresh solutions to the serious challenges facing our country. We believe a secure, online nominating process will prove that America is ready for a competitive, nonpartisan ticket.”

The group goes on to explain their program and model further, “Americans Elect is the first nonpartisan nomination. We're using the Internet to break the gridlock in Washington, open up the political process and give every single voter—Democrat, Republican or independent—the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. Your voice matters. You decide the issues. You choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, you will make history by putting the Americans Elect ticket on the ballot in every state. With Americans Elect, you have the power to choose leadership that puts country before party, and America's interests before special interests. You have the power to change politics as usual.”

People behind the scenes

Among the organization’s key players, Americans Elect spotlights six individuals, plus a host of Board prominent ‘Leaders’. The main six include Kahlil Byrd, CEO and a former political strategist for both Republicans and Democrats. Elliot Ackerman is a former Marine Corp officer now serving as COO. Wendy Drake is the Chief Leadership Officer and former organizer for non-profits. Joshua Levin is the Chief Technology Officer and hails from E-Trade. Sarah Malm is the Chief Communications Officer and a 20-year veteran of PR and marketing campaigns. Daniel Winslow is Chief Legal Council, as well as current Massachusetts State Representative and former legal council for such high-profile individuals as Mitt Romney and Jesse Jackson.

Not to distract from the overall aim of the group, one of the first and most prominent members of the ‘Amercans Elect Leaders’ is Lynn Forester de Rothschild. As the story goes, Lynn Forester was introduced to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild by Henry Kissinger at the 1998 Bilderberg conference, held that year in Scotland. Rothschild married Forester in 2000. She has spent her time fundraising for political candidates like Bill and Hillary Clinton. Rothschild made waves in 2008 when she endorsed John McCain for US President over Barack Obama.

Just as Rothschild is only one of the 120 Directors and Leaders listed by the group, she’s also not the only wealthy, global power player. The list also includes such notable individuals as Michael Eisner and William Wrigley Jr.

The candidates and potential candidates

The Americans Elect nominating process is divided into two categories. One includes candidates who’ve nominated themselves and are embracing their run for the Americans Elect nomination for President. And the second includes candidates who’ve been nominated by someone else and haven’t declared if they are officially running for President or not.

As of today, Americans Elect has already collected over 2.4 million ballot access signatures for the November 2012 general election. With ballot access for their eventual candidate all but guaranteed in all 50 states, the Americans Elect nomination is sure to be a hot commodity come November. Here is the most current list of nominees and the number of votes they’ve received so far, from Americans Elect:

Confirmed candidates

  • Buddy Roemer (former Louisiana Governor) – 1,066
  • Laurence Kotlikoff (professor) – 289
  • Michealene Risley (not disclosed) – 259
  • TJ O’Hara (CEO) – 98
  • Mike Ballantine (not disclosed) – 58

*The list continues on, but those are the top 5.

The group that is more likely to produce the eventual Americans Elect Presidential nominee is the ever-growing crowd of nominated candidates. These are the well-known politicians with a dedicated following of their own already. In a grassroots contest like the Americans Elect caucus, a candidate with an army of supporters to call on for assistance will have a small advantage. Even more of an advantage is name recognition. Nothing proves that more than the top vote-getters from the category of individuals that haven’t confirmed their interest in the Americans Elect nomination yet.

Nominated, but non-confirmed candidates

  • Ron Paul (current GOP candidate) – 4,189
  • Jon Huntsman (former GOP candidate) – 2,064
  • Bernie Sanders (independent VT Senator) – 1,447
  • Barack Obama (current Democratic candidate) – 1,265
  • Michael Bloomberg (NY Mayor) – 805
  • Gary Johnson (current Libertarian candidate) – 631
  • Stephen Colbert (TV personality) – 595
  • Jon Stewart (TV personality) – 397
  • Elizabeth Warren (current Senate candidate) – 313
  • Dennis Kucinich (OH Congressman) – 296

While Americans Elect is brand new and this is their first foray into national politics under this current banner and model, their numbers and the direction their supporters are taking them is creating excitement just in time to pick a Presidential nominee.

As the group explains, Americans Elect will hold an online caucus in May to narrow the field of candidates. Then in June, the group will hold a national nominating convention where the supporters and members of Americans Elect will choose a candidate to represent them on the November ballot. For more information, or if you’d like to nominate someone you know, perhaps yourself, visit the Americans Elect website.