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.