Americans Elect Fizzling Out
The much-touted online effort to find an “independent” candidate for President and get him or her on the ballot in all 50 states appears to be dying from lack of interest:
A group clearing the path for an independent White House bid on Tuesday canceled the first phase of its search for a bipartisan ticket because declared and draft candidates aren’t mustering enough preliminary support.
Americans Elect scrapped a virtual caucus that had been planned for next week. Another round of voting set for May 15 also is in jeopardy; a third is to be held on May 22. Candidates must meet a certain threshold of support to be eligible for the caucuses.
Ileana Wachtel, a spokeswoman for the group, says no one gathered enough online “clicks” to qualify. Candidates must show they have the backing of at least 1,000 people in at least 10 states. Some candidates must reach a threshold of 5,000 supporters in each of 10 states because they haven’t held high enough office before under the Americans Elect bylaws.
“It is their responsibility to get the clicks,” Wachtel said. “We are just merely the platform for them to run on.”
Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, who has the second-most support among two dozen declared candidates, is still well shy of the number he’d need to move along.
Anderson said the group set its bar too high.
“It’s incredible to me that they’ve worked so hard and spent so much money getting ballot access and yet they’ve set up the system that those with the greatest amount of support won’t qualify for the first round of voting,” Anderson said.
Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer leads the pack of declared candidates but still hasn’t qualified for the caucus process. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican presidential candidate, is the leader among candidates supporters hope to draft; he has been dismissive of a third-party bid.
I really don’t think anyone should be surprised by this. Third party efforts generally don’t garner much interest in the United States to begin with unless they are led by a charismatic personality (Eugene Debs, Teddy Roosevelt, George Wallace, and Ross Perot come to mind). More importantly, the entire premise of Americans Elect seems to be built around the Tom Friedman theory of politics that says that all we need is some centrist technocrat in the White House and we’ll be fine. Judging from the underwhelming response to Americans Elect, it doesn’t seem that the American people agree.
Perhaps if nobody expresses interest, they can get Tom Friedman to run.
H/T: Balloon Juice