Why No One Showed Up for the "Americans Elect" Nomination
I haven't written much at all about the effort to create a new political party called 'Americans Elect.' It seemed so stupid that it didn't merit my attention. My only interest in it was to see who they nominated for president because it could potentially change the outcome of the general election in November. But every time I checked on their progress I discovered that no one was paying any attention to them and they were failing to nominate anyone at all. Now they've basically given up on getting a 'bipartisan' ticket nominated according to their bylaws. No one showed up to vote, so no one can be nominated.
They've already secured a ballot line in most states, so there is a powerful incentive to change the rules and pick some ticket, if only to vindicate the tens of millions of dollars these hedge fund managers invested in the effort. I enjoyed this comment on the meaning of their failure:
“The worst thing would be for people to look at a failure to field a candidate and conclude that there is no appetite for this kind of change, which would be just completely wrong,” argues Mark McKinnon, former chief strategist for the Bush campaign, a fellow Daily Beast columnist, and a member of the Americans Elect advisory board. “I think part of the issue is that politics have become so ugly that it is simply difficult to attract good people to participate,” McKinnon adds. “And who can blame them?”
This is the guy who, along with Alex Castellanos, ran the infamous 'Rats' commercial during the 2000 Bush campaign, now complaining about our politics getting ugly.
I also liked this choice piece of analysis from senior columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, John Avlon:
Perhaps the biggest obstacle was the basic fact of this particular election cycle—when a president is running for reelection, it tends to be a referendum. Third-party candidacies do best when there is not an incumbent on the ballot; think Ross Perot ’92 versus ’96.
For those of you who are not numbskulls, Ross Perot did much better in 1992 running against the incumbent George H.W. Bush than he did in 1996 running against the incumbent Bill Clinton. Since there was an incumbent on the ballot in both elections, John Avlon is making of a fool of himself with this analysis.
Americans Elect is failing because it is based on a failed premise. The problem with our politics is not that our government isn't run by some middle of the road consensus between Ben Nelson and Olympia Snowe or Joe Lieberman and John McCain or Lincoln Chafee and Arlen Specter. Our problem is that we have one party that wants to govern but isn't allowed to, and another party that thinks Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry have something meaningful to say. If you honestly think that the Democratic Party is too beholden to the left, you know nothing about politics, here or globally. And if you think the Republican Party, as it exists right now, is capable of responsible governance, then you're the type of fool who buys swampland off the internet or answers those emails from Nigerian princes.
The country has capable leadership right now. We just need the GOP to get out of the way. Americans Elect has nothing to contribute, and everyone knows it.