Could Gingrich or Romney be the Americans Elect Nominee?

Jim Cook reports at Irregular Times

With 77 days to go before the first ballot, the combination corporation/political party called Americans Elect opened up a system today for delegates to draft presidential candidates to appear in its proprietary, privatized online presidential nominating system. The official rules of Americans Elect create three standards by which a draft candidate can qualify to appear on the ballot.

Standard 1: If a candidate has been one of the following… “Vice President, United States Senator, Member of Congress, Presidential Cabinet Member, Head of a federal agency, Governor, Mayor of any of the largest 100 cities in the United States, Chairman or Chief Executive Officer or President of any corporation or nonprofit corporation or philanthropic organization with 1,000 or more employees, President of a national labor union with 100,000 or more members, military officer who has attained flag rank [General or Admiral], Ambassador, and President of an American-based university with more than 4,000 members” … then the candidate is Automatically Qualified as a presidential-quality candidate and has to collect just 10,000 clicks of support from 10 states to appear on the ballot.

Standard 2: If a candidate does have the experience referenced above, but the Americans Elect’s corporate Candidate Certification Committee steps in and decides that the candidate is qualified to be president anyway, “in view of the Contingently Qualified Candidate’s equivalent experience and demonstrated capability,” then the candidate is deemed Contingently Qualified as a presidential-quality candidate and has to collect 50,000 clicks of support to appear on the ballot.

Standard 3: A candidate not Automatically Qualified or deemed to be Contingently Qualified by the Candidate Certification Committee can still qualify for the ballot IF the Candidate Certification Committee vote to reject the candidate was not unanimous. In order to obtain ballot qualification, a majority of all people who have ever been registered as Americans Elect delegates will have to visit the Americans Elect website and affirmatively vote to support the candidate’s access to the ballot.

Meanwhile, the Republican race for the presidential nomination has continued to grow more bitter between Romney and Gingrich. With Romney winning in relatively moderate areas like New Hampshire and southern and central Florida, Gingrich winning in more conservative areas such as South Carolina and northern Florida, and both candidates having plenty of money, it appears at this time that their battle will be protracted and very negative in tone.

Tom Knapp notes

This is Romney’s fourth time out in this cycle. He’s 2 for 4, and has yet to break 50% anywhere. The majority of Republican primary voters keep saying “not Mitt.”

In past cases like this, the big parties have come together – Obama and Clinton, Reagan and Bush. Could this time be different?

Several candidates formerly seeking the Republican presidential nomination have already jumped ship and are seeking the nomination of other parties. Gary Johnson has switched to the Libertarian race, which most observers believe he is leading at the moment. Buddy Roemer is (last I checked) still seeking the Republican nomination, but is shut out of the debates, polls and media coverage, and is also seeking the Americans Elect nomination. Ron Paul ran as a Libertarian in 1988, endorsed Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin in the 2008 general election, currently leads in number of supporters for the Americans Elect nomination (although he would have to express interest in it to be nominated), and has refused to rule out a run as something other than a Republican. Donald Trump briefly sought the Reform Party nomination in 2000, and also briefly sought the Republican nomination for this year (but dropped out before any primaries or caucuses). He has changed his registration to independent and speculated repeatedly about an independent or alternative party run.

News analysts on MSNBC have been speculating tonight about Gingrich running as an independent/alt party candidate should he lose the Republican nomination to Romney. One complication he would face if he makes such a decision is that by the time the Republican contest is decided, it would be very difficult to get on the ballot in all the states in a very short time frame, something mainstream media analysts rarely consider when discussing the possibility of various big party politicians or celebrities mounting last minute alt party/independent runs. Unlike Ron Paul, Gingrich does not have a natural base of support with an existing alternative party with ballot access in most states such as the Libertarian Party. It would seem that Americans Elect could conceivably fill the gap.

Although Americans Elect has no official party platform, it has described its mission as “bridging the vital center of American politics” and has put out a variety of indications that its ideological orientation is most likely to be centrist. The Americans Elect ticket is supposed to be “balanced” by having the VP nominee be from a different party than the presidential nominee, which could present a problem for an ideological candidate such as Gingrich. Gingrich has exploited economic populist themes against Romney to some degree, such as attacks on Bain Capital. It is conceivable that he could find some common ground with Democrats on those issues, although many of his views on economic issues would have to change before he would align more with Democrats than with Republicans on the economy.

If Gingrich wins the Republican nomination, Romney could indeed “bridge the center” by running on the Americans Elect ticket, and he would have the personal wealth to finance such a run, although not to the same degree as NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, a frequent focus of speculation about the Americans Elect nomination, or even Donald Trump. Bloomberg and Trump are both currently independents, so it’s possible that if one of them were the VP nominee it would be deemed a balanced ticket under Americans Elect rules (whether it would or not is not really clear to me).

Could Gingrich or Romney be the Americans Elect Nominee? Your opinions welcome in the comments.


34 thoughts on “Could Gingrich or Romney be the Americans Elect Nominee?

  1. Ad Hoc

    “Unlike Ron Paul, Gingrich does not have a natural base of support with an existing alternative party with ballot access in most states such as the Libertarian Party.”

    Bob Barr won the Libertarian nomination. Why not Gingrich?

  2. Johnson/Harris '12

    I highly doubt that Americans Elect would nominate any of them. Buddy Roemer might actually get a serious look. Personally I hope Gary Johnson & R.J. Harris run together on the Libertarian Party ticket, R.J. Harris would give credit to Gary Johnson’s campaign from the Paul camp, Ron Paul did endorse R.J. Harris when he ran for congress.

  3. paulie Post author

    Bob Barr won the Libertarian nomination. Why not Gingrich?

    Barr joined the LP and served on the LNC first. This would be more like Gravel or Murkowski, neither of which got the LP nomination.

  4. paulie Post author

    Buddy Roemer might actually get a serious look.

    At this point Roemer is getting a look because bigger names have not expressed a willingness to seek the AE nomination yet. I think that will probably change.

  5. Ad Hoc

    So Gingrich might have to wait until 2016 if he wants the Libertarian nomination?

    Maybe Gravel and Murkowski were just too liberal?

  6. paulie Post author

    Ron Paul – 69 supporters. Paul has not ruled out running as something other than GOP, but he has a son climbing through the Republican ranks. He would have to accept the AE nomination, make it past a candidate credential committee of Wall Street bankers and military-industrial/intelligence complex types, and pick a VP who has not been a Republican. Paul is also the most tracked candidate at AE. See discussion at

    Jon Huntsman – 58 supporters. Huntsman has said he will not run as anything other than a Republican.

    Buddy Roemer – 39 supporters. Roemer is the only one of this group that has expressly said he wants the AE nomination thus far.

    Mike Bloomberg – 27 supporters. Bloomberg is widely rumored to be the likely AE nominee, and AE predecessor Unity 08 has close ties with the Draft Bloomberg committee. He has not said whether he is interested or not to my knowledge. Interesting that he already has among the top number of supporters, although he was never among the most tracked candidates, unlike the others in this group. Could his supporters be the AE insiders/big donors?

    Bernie Sanders – 11 supporters. As with Paul, I don’t know if Sanders would either accept or be found acceptable for the AE nomination.

  7. Brian Holtz

    No bitter Ron Paul critic (like Gingrich) would either consider, or be considered for, the LP nomination.

  8. Rob Banks


    “2008 Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr has endorsed Newt Gingrich for President”

    Same sentence, and verifiably true.

  9. Steve

    @ 2 and 6 – As I understand it, Roemer has ties to Mark McKinnon, the AE bigwig. I don’t think he would have gotten into the AE race if he didn’t have some assurance that he’d play a major role. Roemer has been both an elected Democrat and Republican during his political career, so he could theoretically “balance” any other candidate as either number 1 or 2 on the ticket.

    I wonder if AE’s board didn’t bring in Roemer as a back-up plan in case any of their preferred candidates didn’t get in. I have always assumed this was a front for Bloomberg, but after Citizens United, you don’t need the billionaire on the ticket to use his money in the race.

  10. Jill Pyeatt

    RB @ 10: Bob Barr endorsing the Newt is very different than the LP rallying behind him and selecting him as our candidate.

  11. Rob Banks

    Most likely Gingrich and Romney will put their differences aside and unite to get Obama out, as will their supporters.

    The scenario of either breaking away with Americans Elect, while not completely impossible, does seem rather unlikely.

  12. ATBAFT

    #3, if the LP fails to nominate Gary Johnson then it has given up all pretense that it is in any way interested in electoral politics. Sure, it will carry on and claim to be “getting the word out” about libertarianism but hardly anyone will take it as a serious endeavor.

  13. NewFederalist

    @16… after 40 years does anyone really take the LP seriously? I know that sounds harsh and I vote Libertarian just about every chance I get but the party has failed to accomplish almost anything.

  14. Richard Winger

    #17, the Libertarian Party has accomplished many good election law changes, and will continue to do so. The pending national Libertarian Party lawsuit against the part of the McCain-Feingold law that makes it impossible for any national committee of a party to receive a bequest all at once will probably win, and punch a hole in that obnoxious law. Also Libertarian Party lawsuits and lobbying has improved ballot access in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma (although much remains to be done in that state), Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

  15. NewFederalist

    I agree with you, Richard. The LP has done much good regarding ballot access. The party simply hasn’t enjoyed much electoral success.

  16. matt cholko

    @20 If they ceased to operate as a political party they would lose much of their ability to affect changes in ballot access law. Much of the LP’s success has happened in court rooms, and they wouldn’t have standing to sue if they weren’t an active political party.

    To the question of whether “they” are truly interested in electoral politics, I think that depends on your definition of “interested in” and, possibly moreso, who you talk to.

  17. johncjackson

    Romney will be the GOP nominee, with the help of Ron Paul. Why would he be the Americans Elect Nominee?

  18. paulie Post author

    Romney will be the GOP nominee

    Maybe, maybe not.

    The reason I put both Romney and Gingrich forth as scenarios is because either one could still lose (see link to Knapp in article to explore that angle).

    Romney probably knows that too, otherwise why would he be seen with Trump?

    There have been ups and downs in the race and there could be more.

    The question here is whether it will get so bitter that one of them could end up going AE.

    What do you think?

  19. Robert Capozzi

    Romney is making some big (apparent) mistakes, but were he to lose somehow, I don’t see him going AE. He’s not a maverick. He’s loyal to his father’s party. There’s nothing “3rd” about him that I can see. Aside from his Mormonism, he seems profoundly conventional.

    Gingrich, OTOH, loves to be a maverick in a certain way. He seems to crave attention, and somehow becomes more poised when embattled. Him I could see going AE…

  20. 24/7 the T-Rex of Talk Radio

    Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the AE nom have to fund their campaign through support or fortune ?

    CFR Gingrich does not have plenty of money. He does have the correct membership card. Roemer doesn’t have the money either.

    The Ron Paul campaign continues to say that both Gingrich and Santorum are not on enough ballots to win enough delegates to win the nomination.

    The R race is strictly a Romney vs Paul race. Which likely means Goldman Sachs will have both their boys in the finals!

    While Newt wins South Carolina, Paul campaign celebrates –

    Doug Weade on MSNBC w/ Alex Witt 01/21/12 –

    So to answer this thread I would think neither Romney or Gingrich will be the AE nom.

    I have a question. Will AE allow people to run down ticket on their line? Seems an awful lot of wasted ballot access to not be used. If so, Ls in states without Full Party access could try to use their access to get the message out, if not some other Parties will !!!

  21. paulie Post author

    Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the AE nom have to fund their campaign through support or fortune ?


    CFR Gingrich does not have plenty of money. He does have the correct membership card.

    Adelson’s superpac contributions could flow to Gingrich regardless of what party he runs with.

    The Ron Paul campaign continues to say that both Gingrich and Santorum are not on enough ballots to win enough delegates to win the nomination.

    They ignore the fact that delegates can switch their allegiance. If Gingrich is leading the contest for the nomination, many “Romney” delegates could become Gingrich delegates.

    Actually, the Paul campaign should already know this since several Paul delegates were browbeaten into voting for McCain at the convention. They don’t seem to be very good at the whole institutional memory thing.

    The R race is strictly a Romney vs Paul race.

    Not by a long shot.

    While Newt wins South Carolina, Paul campaign celebrates

    Pretty sure I already explained what is wrong with that analysis in a prior thread.

    I have a question. Will AE allow people to run down ticket on their line?

    I believe the current answer is no, but they do have tentative plans to do so in 2014.

  22. Ad Hoc

    Knapp’s analysis ignores the momentum of the February contests, all of which Romney is polling far ahead in right now. I think that will make a big difference on Super Tuesday.

  23. Johnson/Harris '12

    Buddy Roemer will most likely get the nomination. Since he’ll be the only well know politician to actively seek the nomination.

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