Americans Elect Will Not Nominate a 2012 Presidential Ticket

Despite securing a place on 30 state ballots, the advocacy group Americans Elect has decided against nominating a ticket for the 2012 presidential election.

Less than an hour ago, the group posted the following press release on its website:

There is a desire among Delegates and millions of Americans who have supported Americans Elect to see a credible candidate emerge from this process.

However, the rules, as developed in consultation with the Americans Elect Delegates, are clear. As of this week, no candidate achieved the national support threshold required to enter the Americans Elect Online Convention in June. The primary process for the Americans Elect nomination has come to an end.

Americans Elect, from the outset, has been a rules-based process, with the rules publicly available and open to debate by the Delegates. Our key priorities have been to: 1) honor the trust Americans Elect has built with the Delegates and American public; 2) require candidates to earn the nomination by building support among the Americans Elect Delegate community and American voters; and 3) create a basis for a solid future for the Americans Elect movement.

This decision honors these priorities.

Through the efforts of thousands of staffers, volunteers, and leadership, Americans Elect has achieved its operational goals, including:

  • Creating a pathway for nationwide ballot access for a balanced presidential ticket unaffiliated with the nominating process of either major party to compete in the 2012 race;
  • Building the technological platform for the first nonpartisan secure national online primary at AmericansElect.org;
  • Attracting a significant base of more than 4 million supporters, including Delegates, petition signers and volunteers;
  • Educating the national and local media on the Americans Elect mission; and
  • Finishing an extensive candidate briefing program involving more than 100 potential candidates.

As always, we thank everyone who has helped build this organization and are grateful for the work, efforts, and trust so many people have placed in Americans Elect. We are continuing the Americans Elect mission of creating more choice in our political system, giving candidates unaffiliated with the nominating process of either major party an authentic way to run for office and giving the American people a greater voice in our political process.

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer and former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson were the leading two candidates for the nomination. However, both were unable to fulfill the organization’s requirements for supporters in time for the scheduled May 15 primary round.

98 thoughts on “Americans Elect Will Not Nominate a 2012 Presidential Ticket

  1. Andy

    Wow, I’m astounded that after they spent so much money and went to so much effort to gain ballot access in a bunch of states, that they’d abandon the project at this late stage in the game. This is probably the most money ever wasted in the history of politics.

    The real winner here is Gary Johnson though, because he should be assured of coming in 3rd place in the Presidential election now.

  2. ctomp

    I stated this earlier on the May thread: AE has already taken down the Log-In option, but has left up the “Give” button.

  3. Andy

    “Proud Centrist // May 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Paulie & Andy laughing all the way to the bank?”

    Actually, this is bad news for everyone in the petition business, because the fact that Americans Elect is not going to be doing any more petition drives means less work opportunity for everyone.

    I did make some money off of Americans Elect, but not nearly as much as some people made.

  4. Gene Berkman

    At least they gave employment to many who collected petition signatures for pay. Maybe they created more jobs than President Obama.

    Of course, since they don’t have a candidate to spout B***S*** then they have not left any shovel ready jobs.

  5. Nick Kruse

    Since they still have ballot access in over 30 states, anyone want to predict what their next move will be? They would need to nominate someone or else they will automatically lose ballot access in half of those states after the election. With them still petitioning in Texas and Idaho, they’ve got to be up to something.

  6. Trent Hill

    Seems odd that they would just abandon the 10 million they spent, the ten thousand plus delegates that signed up, and the 30-state ballots they now have….because of some bylaws that easily could’ve been suspended.

    What’s to prevent local leaders from selling off those ballots?

  7. Andy

    “Gene Berkman // May 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    At least they gave employment to many who collected petition signatures for pay.”

    Yes, this was the best thing about Americans Elect.

  8. Oranje Mike

    Epic fail.

    I always thought this was an attempt to split the anti-Obama vote. Since they’re not tossing out a candidate, maybe there was some integrity behind the efforts of AE.

  9. Andy

    “Trent Hill // May 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Seems odd that they would just abandon the 10 million they spent”

    I believe that they spent more than $10 million. I think that they actually spent $35 million. A lot of money was spent on ballot access, but they spent a lot of money on a bunch of other things as well.

  10. Trent Hill

    Nick–it definitely seems odd that they’re still petitioning in Texas.

    In many states, most I think, they have to turn over the ballot to some local leaders once petitioning is done, right? Since they did so as a party. I think that means there is a party in California, NC, and other states now where local leaders are in control…

  11. Trent Hill

    I meant on ballot access, Andy. They’ve spent 35 mill, but I understand a great deal was spent on the website alone (like, millions) and on other things.

  12. Andy

    “Andy // May 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    ‘Gene Berkman // May 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    At least they gave employment to many who collected petition signatures for pay.’

    Yes, this was the best thing about Americans Elect.”

    I want to add to this by saying that they also created more income/jobs for motels/hotels, gas stations, print shops, airlines, etc…. There was a lot of money that was spent on various expenses organizing and gaining ballot access for Americans Elect.

  13. Robert Capozzi

    I saw AE as an insurance policy in case an extremist R was nominated.

  14. Andy

    “Robert Capozzi // May 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I saw AE as an insurance policy in case an extremist R was nominated.”

    Yeah, I think that there’s some truth to this. I suspect that “they” wanted to make sure that Ron Paul wasn’t on the ballot in November, and that if he was, that there’d be a well funded “third party” candidate who could suck votes and attention away from him.

  15. Jimmy

    This whole thing was evidently an ego trip and joke from the very beginning.

  16. Nick Kruse

    Trent – You said that Americans Elect turns over the ballot access to a local leader after the petitioning is done. On the California Secretary of State’s website, it lists Peter Ackerman as the state AE’s leader. So much for “local” party leaders. http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_f.htm

  17. NewFederalist

    I really wonder how many of the ballot qualified state affiliates are vulnerable to hostile takeover?

  18. Deran

    Good lord, what an obtuse press release!

    What it really says, as far as what happens now, is that the whole caucus system, and apparently the convention(?), are off. But they do not say anywhere that there will be no presidential candidate?

    It will be interesting to learn if AE is continuing petioining in TX because of a contractual obligation?

    Can the people working for AE petitioning confirm that they are not starting on any further petitioning drives?

  19. Curt Boyd

    #9 – Epic Fail is an understatement!

    When Rocky Anderson declared for Americans Elect, I decided I was not supporting his candidacy any more. I feel the Anderson and Roemer campaigns are in jeopardy now because this experiment failed. Buddy Roemer could still win the Reform Party nomination and get on the ballot in a few states, but Anderson’s relying on grassroots efforts, which will only get him so far.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the ballot lines, if anything.

  20. Curt Boyd

    Americans Elect would be well served to cover the exploits of the Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties, if they really want an alternative voice to have a chance of winning. Somehow I doubt that will happen.

  21. Jed Siple

    Well, since they’re not nominating a ticket, I guess I’ll go ahead and take the first step. I call on all the state chapters to disaffiliate from the national party and nominate me, Jed Siple, for president of the United States. I will not actively campaign, and I’m not even old enough to be eligible for the office (neither is Peta Lindsay), but hey, why the hell not amiright? Let’s make this an even bigger joke than it already is!

  22. Nick Kruse

    The state parties can’t disaffiliate from the national party because nearly all of the state parties list Peter Ackerman as their state chair. Nothing happens without his say-so. He controls everything Americans Elect.

  23. William Saturn Post author

    Robert Milnes should try to compete for some of the states up for grabs.

  24. Deran

    If you search Google News using the term “Americans Elect”, you can see the mainstream media making serious hay abt how AE shows how there is no real interest in third parties. Obvious bs, and predictable.

    At Uncovered Politics Darcy Richardsson is quoting Roemer as reacting like he was given no advanced warning abt AE’s move today. Which makes the leaders of AE seem pretty removed from the candidates seeking the nomination of their organization.

  25. William Saturn Post author

    Was AE just an exercise to attack the third party movement and maintain the duopoly?

  26. Paulie

    This will make it harder to petition the rest of year….it makes alt parties seem like a bad joke, many people will not know the difference.

  27. Deran

    @Paulie, yes you’re right.

    Yes, as soon as I saw the headlines that came up in a Google News search abt this I realized it is going to make things difficult.

  28. Andy

    “Paulie // May 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    This will make it harder to petition the rest of year….it makes alt parties seem like a bad joke, many people will not know the difference.”

    I don’t think that most of the public knows what Americans Elect is and the majority of people won’t even know about this.

  29. Jeremy C. Young

    Translation: we refuse to nominate Buddy Roemer because he’s an actual independent thinker who won’t take orders from us, and also because he’s not rich; and we can’t nominate anyone else without looking like hypocrites.

  30. bruuno

    Paulie @31- You’re right, still would have been the nice thing to do to give the heads up to Roemer, Anderson, Kotlikoff, and other declared candidates.

  31. Paulie

    They did have heads up. The May 1 deadline was announced a long time earlier, actually maybe an even earlier deadline that was moved? Then the May 8 and May 15 deadlines likewise passed.

    I suppose they have a legit beef that the deadline has been changed so many times that they logically expected it to be extended again.

  32. bruuno

    I was talking more along the lines of a courtesy call. As I said you are right, they shouldn’t be shocked. I’m just thinking of general politeness.

  33. Mark Axinn

    AE grossly overpaid petitioners, particularly in Illinois, driving the price way up for the LP which has employed petitioners for years.

    Yes, this is good news in many different ways for the LP.

  34. JT

    Andy: “I want to add to this by saying that they also created more income/jobs for motels/hotels, gas stations, print shops, airlines, etc…. There was a lot of money that was spent on various expenses organizing and gaining access for Americans Elect.”

    Bad economics. Simply spending money isn’t good economically. That money has to be spent productively, not wasted on a failed enterprise.

    Andy: “I don’t think that most of the public knows what Americans Elect is and the majority of people won’t even know about this.”

    I agree with this. This won’t even register in the minds of most people. Despite all of the money & man hours, AE was a gimmick. I predicted this would happen & it did.

  35. Dan Ciammaichella

    Let’s translate this press release, shall we:

    “Americans Elect discovered that their process for verifying the voter registrations of their members to be a piece of unworkable crap and thus could not allow a large portion of members to become delegates.”

    Chime in if you know what I am talking about.

  36. Steven Berson

    Before knowing the facts about who was behind AE – I was initially supportive of the idea of AE and spent some time on their website. I was soon turned off by the fact that their quiz on policy stances (to match you up better with the declared candidates) was seemingly endless with repetitious questions that nearly always were leading and limited towards statist answers. I soon abandoned their quiz – and when it came time to “vote” I found their request for my Social Security number to verify my vote was intrusive and represented a possibility of identity theft to the point that I passed on participating.

    Frankly – their website and system was fairly pathetic considering all the money and time it seems they put into it – in that it didn’t allow for a forum between “delegates” (anyone signing up) and/or candidates. They could have easily hosted online townhalls and debates between their candidates but never did this either. AE also didn’t window down candidates in any way that made sense – so to focus support on a few qualified ones rather than spread thin between anyone who wanted to sign up.

    Basically I think the whole purpose of AE was to allow for its board of directors to place in a “centrist” (and definitely statist) candidate if someone they construed “too extreme” or “unelectable” (like Ron Paul – whose anti-Federal Reserve, anti-military industrial complex policies would certainly make this crowd nervous – or Rick Santorum – whose theocratic noise making would have alienated most voters in November and guaranteed a loss) was likely to receive the GOP nomination. As such – I think Mitt Romney is exactly the type of candidate that AE was looking for – where as someone like Buddy Roemer or Rocky Anderson – both who make campaign finance reform a main focus of their campaigns – was definitely not. So for them – it made more sense to abandon their nomination process and write it off as a loss rather than end up promoting someone who was destined to fail but would have carried a message that they themselves were actually against.
    One thing this shows to me – is that a political organization that is solely driven top down can not really hope to gain any traction.

  37. scott

    Win for non-AE candidates. Will Rocky Anderson endorse Jill Stein now? How much ballot access could the Justice Party get?

    It would be best if Anderson, Stein, and the bevy of other Left candidates pool their efforts into a united front.

  38. Eric Blitz

    I’d heard that AE’s petitioning had driven up the costs for hiring petitioners, which may help us save money for those states where we’ll need hired guns to get access (presuming prices react efficiently).

  39. Andy

    “Mark Axinn // May 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    AE grossly overpaid petitioners, particularly in Illinois, driving the price way up for the LP which has employed petitioners for years.

    Yes, this is good news in many different ways for the LP.”

    You don’t have your facts straight.

    First of all, Americans Elect never started petitioning in Illinois. They were intending to start, but it never did and now it looks like they won’t be starting Illinois or anywhere else.

    Second of all, the rates paid to petitioners on the street on Americans Elect were generally not that great. They did pay a LOT of money to petition coordinators, but in most cases, the petition circulators only got paid a small portion of what Americans Elect paid out for ballot access. There were a few states where the pay to the petitioners was decent, and there were a very few where the pay was very good (I can think of at least a couple of places where $4 per signature plus some expenses were paid out to petitioners), but the pay to the petitioners on the street on quite a few Americans Elect petition drives was on the mediocre to crappy side.

    I do think that some high pay rates to petitioners would have to happen in some of the remaining places that they’ve got to petition due to the fact that we are getting closer to a lot of deadlines, but it appears to be a moot point now.

    How does this effect the Libertarian Party? It’s good in some ways, but in other ways it is actually bad.

    It’s good for the Gary Johnson/Jim Grey ticket because I think that they are assured of coming in 3rd place now, and they will certainly be capable of getting more votes without having to compete against Americans Elect. It is also good for ballot access in states where it is officially against the “law” for a voter to sign a petition for more than one party or candidate (note that most states do not have laws like this), as in states like Illinois and Kentucky, so the LP won’t have to compete for the services of petitioners in those places.

    The bad thing for the LP is that there are places where it it considered to be “legal” for a person to sign a petition for more than one party/candidate, and where the Libertarian Party and Americans Elect (if they were still in the race) both have to petition. The LP would have a better chance at getting on the ballot in these places if Americans Elect were also petitioning because petition circulators could “piggy back” the petitions, that is petition for both parties at the same time. This would make it easier for the LP to get petitioners to work in these states and could have saved the party some money on expenses as well (since there’d already be petitioners in these places working for Americans Elect).

  40. Steven Berson

    @45 Scott – for me while I love listening to Rocky Anderson speak and think he is indeed very charismatic and articulate, and as a former 2-term Mayor comes off as way more “legitimate” of a candidate than other candidates without similar public office experience from the “progressive” side – it’s been a bit of a head scratcher as to why he started the Justice Party only to have its platform so closely aligned to what the Green Party already has – and without its already existing and hard won ballot access to boot. I can understand why he felt that the “Green” brand might carry too much baggage for many potentially sympathetic centrists -but seems to me he hasn’t really differentiated any major policy stances from what Jill Stein is also doing a great job of articulating in this cycle. As such ultimately I think if he continues his push he is just dividing up the vote.

    One thing I wish that the Justice Party would perhaps push more and actually come up with realistic budget proposals to back – is the novel idea of “balanced budget progressives” – who wouldn’t spend beyond revenues but would still focus on pushing social programs rather than bloated military budgets. That kind of rhetoric I think could gain traction these days with a broader band of left leaning and centrist independent voters – where as most Greens I talk to seem to think we can just do all kinds of massive stimulus programs by simply making taxes more progressive and taxing the fossil fuel industry more – where as the math shows even soaking the rich to the maximum would still result in big deficits in that scenario.

    Anyway – it is hard to tell whether Rocky will continue his bid – either to “get the message out” or perhaps more cynically as an ego-feed – or whether he will abandon the race to promote unity on the “real left” behind a Jill Stein headed ticket. I think actually a really wise move would be for Stein to propose drafting Rocky Anderson to be her running mate come the GP Convention in June. That would be definitely a stronger and more serious ticket to me than say Stein/Barr or Stein/Mesplay.

  41. Richard Winger

    If anyone on this thread knows the name of one person who petitioned for Americans Elect in Oklahoma, or Alabama, or Georgia, or North Carolina, and that person would sign an affidavit saying how much he or she was paid (or how much was paid in that state to petitioners in general for AE), please let me know. We need this evidence four various ballot access cases. Time is urgent. Call me at 415-922-9779 or richardwinger@yahoo.com. THANK YOU!!

  42. Trent Hill

    Stein should definitely renew her effort to draft Anderson as a VP. It would be good for the GP.

  43. Oranje Mike

    @49

    Is there reason to believe AE was up to some funny business? In Arizona, last I knew, they reported no expenses in Arizona with the SOS but somehow still obtained ballot status. Sounds fishy.

  44. FLAMETHROWING LIBERTARIAN !

    Nanna Nanna nanna noo I TOLD YOU ! Nanna nanna nanna noo I told you ……

    No way Paul, Roemer or any other outsider would get this FARSE of a FRAUD. AE was set up by the people who already control the D and Rs and was nothing more nor less than a way to draw votes and attention from a credible TP effort that might dethrone their handpicked candidates. A Triopoly if you will. Making the masses think they had a third alternative yet all three are controlled by the same Globalist Kleptocrats (the SUPER-RICH of the world and their LACKEYS).

    Wall Street made Obama in ’07-08 and they still own him and Romney in ’11-12. Money owns the crooked pols worldwide !!!

    Federal Records Show Romney Campaign Bought And Paid For By Big Banks – http://www.conservativeactionalerts.com/2011/10/federal-records-show-romney-campaign-bought-and-paid-for-by-big-banks/

    Who Donated to Mitt Romney – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Zq7sOjLvhI&feature=related

    Sadly Ron Paul was unable to breakthrough, essentially making a “third” choice from the Establishment unnecessary in 2012. None should doubt that if necessary this group (who blew $30M?+or- like you might blow $30 over one meal) could have used their LACKEYS in the MSM to place an approved candidate in a three way race in less than three weeks. The reason was to sway the race to Obama or Romney OR even, if need be, the AE candidate. You know and I know $30 M is chickenscratch to these people who have moved us into T$ dificits and budgets of wish they get more than a fair share. With no real challenge there is no real need for an AE in ’12.

    With ALL that crap said, I have a major request. Are any of you who played their game and became AE delegates, members of the LP or are sympathetic to the LP cause ? If so we need you to step forward in each state where the LP won’t be on the ballot downticket. We (and all America) seriously need you to request to be candidates on the AE line. Garner the Line Ballot Access and then run a Libertarian campaign into Nov. Get the L message out to the masses.

  45. Jeremy C. Young

    The weird thing is that Stein was drafted into the GP race because no serious candidates had announced they were running. Had Anderson joined the GP and announced six months earlier than he did, he probably could have had their nomination for the taking.

  46. Raider Duck

    I (and others) said months ago on this very site that Americans Elect would have the exact same impact as its forerunner Unity08: Zilch.

    Why? Because Americans like the two-party system just fine, even though it doesn’t come close to serving their needs. They SAY they don’t like it, but they really do. Witness the Democrats and GOP Presidential candidates routinely combining for 98-99% of the vote, even when the choices are as awful as George W. Bush and John Kerry.

  47. Andy

    JT said: “Bad economics. Simply spending money isn’t good economically. That money has to be spent productively, not wasted on a failed enterprise.”

    JT, you obviously didn’t get that I was being sarcastic.

    However, I will say that I GOT PAID, so it was good for my own personal economy.:)

  48. FLAMETHROWING LIBERTARIAN !

    The reason the American People are satisfied with a two Party System is because they are told to be happy with it !

    “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.” – Tragedy and Hope by Carroll Quigley-(Bill Clinton said Quigley was his mentor during 1993 Inaugural Address), speaking of the (CFR) Globalists’ American political strategy since the early twentieth century.

    There Were 88 Media Companies…
    Now There Are 6 – http://www.rense.com/general90/media.htm

    THE ROTHSCHILDS Owns/controls ALL media through their Reuters and AP ! – http://www.luckinlove.com/rothmedia.htm

    Kleptocracy and You, How things really work!- http://ldrlongdistancerider.com/images/Kleptocracy_and_You.jpg

    a must see on the CFR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlUkfM-AJDk&feature=related

    “The Council on Foreign Relations is the American branch of a society which originated in England … [and] … believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established.” – Carroll Quigley

  49. Americans Elect Fraud

    It’s quite clear that they were angling for Jon Huntsman to run on their ticket and I’m assuming that David Walker was going to be the VP. It’s really stupid at the end of the day how much a farce this “Centrist”/”Moderate” party really is. I can’t wait until someone gets the balls to walk away from the Democrats and Republicans and create a “Moderate Centrist” Party to get all the center politicians that can’t seem to really coupe with either the left or right and go to the center. A Moderate Party is the only successful 3rd party the United States could see, seriously.

  50. Sean Scallon

    “A Moderate Party is the only successful 3rd party the United States could see, seriously.”

    Gee, what happened to the Whig Party? Die off again?

    I would have just agreed to nominated Roemer and Anderson and let them make the best of it since they were the only ones trying to make an effort of navigating AE’s complex process. Instead looks like another ponzi scheme. I was an AE investor I would be seriously pissed my money was pissed away like that. I wonder if there will be any lawsuits.

    Bottom line, there is a reason why non-major parties are large ideological vehicles, because only true believer would put in the effort for such parties to continue to exist.

  51. Ryan C

    AE was doomed as another Big Government party. We already have two, we don’t need another. Johnson 2012: the only Small Government alternative in November.

  52. paulie

    AE grossly overpaid petitioners, particularly in Illinois, driving the price way up for the LP which has employed petitioners for years.

    AE never petitioned in Illinois. It did pay very well on petitions, but unless you were one of the lucky few that had a relatively direct deal it paid crap and there were many ripoffs by subcontractors and their subcontractors etc.

    Yes, this is good news in many different ways for the LP.

    Some ways good some ways bad.

    In Illinois the LP dodged a bullet because we can only petition for one party and if the AE drive started late with little time to finish they probably would have outbid the LP. Some petitioners would have assuredly worked both anyway even though it is illegal. I don’t know what the chances of that being discovered during challenges would have been, but certainly a risk.

    In other places like ND the LP benefited because we were able to piggyback the LP petition off AE since we were already there. I bet the LP would not have full party status in ND if AE had not been there.

    Beyond petitioning, someways the LP benefits from being the biggest game left in the non-D/Roid universe this year. In other ways it loses because some people once they get shaken loose of the idea that they have to vote for one of the big two may be open to other possibilities. The LP’s best presidential performance in 1980 came in a year when Anderson was the strongest “third” choice. In 1984 with a lull in LP performance, the LP was easily 3rd. It’s not clear whether Perot’s or Nader’s runs, or the entry of the CP and GP since then, have helped or hurt the LP. Perhaps neither one.

  53. paulie

    “I don’t think that most of the public knows what Americans Elect is and the majority of people won’t even know about this.”

    I agree with this. This won’t even register in the minds of most people. Despite all of the money & man hours, AE was a gimmick.

    I haven’t been watching TV enough to know; have Colbert, Stewart, Leno, et al been having a field day with the belly flop or ignoring it?

  54. paulie

    “I want to add to this by saying that they also created more income/jobs for motels/hotels, gas stations, print shops, airlines, etc…. There was a lot of money that was spent on various expenses organizing and gaining access for Americans Elect.”

    Bad economics. Simply spending money isn’t good economically. That money has to be spent productively, not wasted on a failed enterprise.

    JT is correct. It was not too much different from the government paying people to dig holes and fill them up. That too would generate money that workers would spend elsewhere. It would have been better for the overall economy if the wealthy wall street financiers who backed AE had invested that same money in new business ventures that would be likely to produce something useful, and last more than a year or two. Of course it is their money and they can do with it what they want.

    AE ballot access created this year will be good for 2014 in about 12 states from what I have read.

  55. Thomas L. Knapp

    My guess is that things fell apart from them on two fronts:

    First, they expected the Republicans to nominate a hardcore conservative this year, one who would be able to do a credible job of painting moderate/centrist Obama as a “hard left” candidate, leaving the center up for grabs.

    Instead, the GOP is nominating an incredibly weak moderate/centrist themselves — one who can’t convincingly get around to Obama’s right flank on health care, economic policy, foreign policy, etc. and only goes “hard right” on issues where he thinks he has to to keep his “right-wing” base in line and where he hopes the center falls at least slightly to the right (marriage apartheid, for example).

    So, the center doesn’t look like it’s really available to a third party this year.

    For that matter, if the marriage apartheid issue does stick enough to become a “values voters” pole, neither are the “left” or “right” — most in those demographics will rally around the one who “can win” and “is most like me.”

    Secondly, they didn’t get the kind of marquee candidates they were looking for — billionaires or a massively well-known politicos.

    They wanted to make The Avengers, not Celebrity Fit Club, so Daniel Baldwi … er, Buddy Roemer … didn’t really fit their bill.

    And even if they had been willing to make Celebrity Fit Club, the LP stole a march on them by nominating Gary Buse … er, Johnson.

  56. Thomas L. Knapp

    On the economic thing, JT and Paulie are correct — it wasn’t an overall economic “multiplier” of any kind, as its output was just politics, not something that actually creates wealth.

    BUT … that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a waste for AE. If they’re going to be around for 2016, they have a maiden ballot access cruise under their belts, so they’ll be even better at it next time. And if they were punctual and generous with their payments, they’ve probably got a list of good petitioners they can call in early and get together quickly next time, instead of starting from scratch.

  57. paulie

    “Americans Elect discovered that their process for verifying the voter registrations of their members to be a piece of unworkable crap and thus could not allow a large portion of members to become delegates.”

    Chime in if you know what I am talking about.

    Yes, but the bigger problem for them was finding a candidate that is both willing to take the ire of the Democratic and Republican establishments and their attack dogs as well as centrist and highly qualified in terms of background. Despite talking to hundreds of such people they did not find one, although they came close to making a deal with Huntsman and some others.

    I note that the cleverly worded press release still leaves room for the board to appoint a candidate if they find one. What they have cancelled is their caucus or primary, not necessarily the entire AE presidential run. However, in most likelihood it really is cancelled because there is no candidate they consider acceptable and little time left to find one and still complete ballot access projects.

  58. paulie

    Before knowing the facts about who was behind AE – I was initially supportive of the idea of AE and spent some time on their website. I was soon turned off by the fact that their quiz on policy stances (to match you up better with the declared candidates) was seemingly endless with repetitious questions that nearly always were leading and limited towards statist answers. I soon abandoned their quiz – and when it came time to “vote” I found their request for my Social Security number to verify my vote was intrusive and represented a possibility of identity theft to the point that I passed on participating.

    Frankly – their website and system was fairly pathetic considering all the money and time it seems they put into it – in that it didn’t allow for a forum between “delegates” (anyone signing up) and/or candidates. They could have easily hosted online townhalls and debates between their candidates but never did this either. AE also didn’t window down candidates in any way that made sense – so to focus support on a few qualified ones rather than spread thin between anyone who wanted to sign up.

    Basically I think the whole purpose of AE was to allow for its board of directors to place in a “centrist” (and definitely statist) candidate if someone they construed “too extreme” or “unelectable” (like Ron Paul – whose anti-Federal Reserve, anti-military industrial complex policies would certainly make this crowd nervous – or Rick Santorum – whose theocratic noise making would have alienated most voters in November and guaranteed a loss) was likely to receive the GOP nomination. As such – I think Mitt Romney is exactly the type of candidate that AE was looking for – where as someone like Buddy Roemer or Rocky Anderson – both who make campaign finance reform a main focus of their campaigns – was definitely not. So for them – it made more sense to abandon their nomination process and write it off as a loss rather than end up promoting someone who was destined to fail but would have carried a message that they themselves were actually against.
    One thing this shows to me – is that a political organization that is solely driven top down can not really hope to gain any traction.

    All very good points and I agree completely.

  59. paulie

    Will Rocky Anderson endorse Jill Stein now?

    Probably not.

    How much ballot access could the Justice Party get?

    Some, but not much. They seem unwilling or unable to pay anything.

    It would be best if Anderson, Stein, and the bevy of other Left candidates pool their efforts into a united front.

    Yes, but it probably won’t happen.

  60. paulie

    I’d heard that AE’s petitioning had driven up the costs for hiring petitioners, which may help us save money for those states where we’ll need hired guns to get access (presuming prices react efficiently).

    See above. It works in different directions depending on each given state and its rules.

  61. paulie

    One thing I wish that the Justice Party would perhaps push more and actually come up with realistic budget proposals to back – is the novel idea of “balanced budget progressives” – who wouldn’t spend beyond revenues but would still focus on pushing social programs rather than bloated military budgets. That kind of rhetoric I think could gain traction these days with a broader band of left leaning and centrist independent voters

    Excellent idea. I could support such a move in the short run, although in the long run I believe social programs can be done much better on a voluntary basis. At least social programs serve real needs, although they don’t serve them well. The bulk of the military budget does nothing to serve the need to keep the country from being invaded.

    I don’t think policing the world has made us more secure, I think it has made us less secure. If it had made us more secure there would never have been a Homeland Security department.

    One problem with balanced budget progressives is that they may push for higher taxes. That would lose my support for any such venture. High taxes lead to fewer job opportunities at the bottom of the economic ladder, and climbing that ladder is not possible if you can’t get on the bottom rung. The recession has been worst by far for those who are “last hired, first fired.”

  62. paulie

    If anyone on this thread knows the name of one person who petitioned for Americans Elect in Oklahoma, or Alabama, or Georgia, or North Carolina, and that person would sign an affidavit saying how much he or she was paid (or how much was paid in that state to petitioners in general for AE), please let me know. We need this evidence four various ballot access cases.

    We’ll get the word out.

  63. paulie

    In Arizona, last I knew, they reported no expenses in Arizona with the SOS but somehow still obtained ballot status. Sounds fishy.

    Not fishy. The company was just not from AZ, so nothing to report to AZ.

  64. paulie

    Flamethrower is correct as well.

    JCY

    The weird thing is that Stein was drafted into the GP race because no serious candidates had announced they were running. Had Anderson joined the GP and announced six months earlier than he did, he probably could have had their nomination for the taking.

    He could have still run for the Green nomination when he started running.

  65. zapper

    What are we seeing here?

    The American people seem to be fed up, and yet for the most part, they don’t respond.

    We’ve seen a second Great Depression, continuing economic malaise with unemployment, massive deficits, the housing crash, foreclosures, bankruptcy, people barely hanging on to their jobs and financial lives, or scrambling for new jobs at lower wages, most thankful to be getting by, or desperate because they’re slipping below the financial waves. The government is failing, their lives are failing. What takes precedence?

    Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, political turmoil and revolt around a troubled world, America’s wealth is being drained AND YET we were attacked and needed to respond … But how much is too much? It’s a lot to think about, and at the same time, just surviving and raising a family is hard. Voters would like a clear vision and a leader… But who? Who has a vision? Who to trust?

    The war on drugs is failing, too many people have gone to jail for marijuana, and thousands are dieing in Mexico, yeah this is a problem. Most would agree that we could legalize marijuana, tax and regulate it like wine, end the trouble in Mexico, stop the waste of money and human resources and police resources that could be spent on real crime. But really, when your family and financial life is at stake, is this important enough to jump into politics?

    They’re all crooks anyway. They make promises and never deliver. All politicians are alike. Who can trust anyone in Washington? How can you trust a third party or independent candidate you’ve barely heard of? Better to go with the one you know? Gut feelings? Flip a coin? Sure the yellow dogs will keep following their parties, but what about the rest? Too tired, too busy, too disillusioned – especially in this cycle – the 2012 election cycle.

    Many polls show that a very large percentage, a majority in some polls, claim they would consider a third party, more than ever now. But they never do. They never have. Things are different, but still they never do and they never have.

    But, this time things could be different.

    Sure, there wasn’t enough interest in Americans Elect. But it offered nothing. No answers, no solutions, no hope. It was a technical effort. They provided an amorphous Party apparatus – a turn-key political party – an empty shell. But empty means nothing. It offered nothing.

    Sure, to those of us who understand that Americas electoral process makes ballot access nearly impossible for an Independent or 3rd party candidate for POTUS, this sounded like a dream come true – for someone. Surely someone or several someones would jump at this opportunity.

    But, to the American voters, AE didn’t exist and had no reason to exist. The average American thinks that any crank can run for President and get on the ballot anywhere and it’s easy to do so. How many understand how difficult it really is? Maybe between 1/10 and 1/100 of 1 % … maybe less than that.

    So, AE has died … maybe. They still could come charging back with a later announcement that some savior has emerged, if someone charged forward and grabbed this thing and gave it a big shake. Someone who could command immediate interest and had his own money – a Perot or a Bloomberg maybe.

    But, the chances are very small.

    So, what about the LP?

    For us, this represents a great opportunity.

    Governor Johnson and Judge Gray have credibility. They could present themselves to be the answer the public is seeking, in a gentle, pragmatic but extremely Principled way.

    They could present the LP program – with a bit more emotion and heart than Johnson usually delivers – and with a bit more Principle: a little stronger on the non-intervention (with wiggle for a holocaust); a 43% spending cut is good, but add pay freezes and caps for the highest level government workers ($100,000 cap for all, graduated cuts below, esp. cut Congress and the Pres. pay and staff) and stress cuts in spending for wars abroad and wars on drugs, cuts for wasteful interest expense with a balanced budget; and repeal of the income tax and abolition of the IRS, replaced by an amorphous consumption tax, but stop promoting the Fair tax as that will alienate more people than it draws, although it can be given as an example of one of the many ideas available.

    But, how do we generate hope in the hearts of the American people? How can we show them that we have a plan and are ready to lead?

    They’ve barely heard of Libertarians or Gary Johnson. We can’t get enough free media to reach them – not yet, not now anyway. Sorry to say, but Youtube, Google, the Internet and even a Blimp or two won’t do it.

    We need to start major network TV advertising. We need to start NOW.

    That is the only way they will hear our message and the only way they will notice enough to consider us, to support us, to donate to us, to register their interest in us enough to get to 15% in the polls and get in the debates.

    Then we get the free media.

    And then we get more attention, donors, money, supporters, increasing poll numbers and we can finally acheive breakthrough vote totals.

  66. paulie

    TLK @63-4 mostly correct. One thing though…

    ” And if they were punctual and generous with their payments, they’ve probably got a list of good petitioners they can call in early and get together quickly next time, instead of starting from scratch.”

    Not exactly.

    They have only one name on their list, Arno Political Consultants, which got 100% of the AE deal nationwide.

    APC has been around for many years and already had lists of petition middlemen. Those middlemen in turn have lists of petitioners and sub-middlemen.

    However, it is true that due to the large number of states that were going on at the same time APC did open their books and allow a small handful of petitioners who were willing to work small (by population), very cold states in the winter to get direct deals with APC, which does not usually happen. Those deals paid pretty well, and promptly.

    The ones that most petitioners got that worked on it through multiple layers of middlemen sucked. The pay was low, often held up, there were validity games being played to cheat petitioners out of parts of their money and in many cases people got ripped off. This was not the fault of AE, which paid APC extremely generously, nor was it in most cases the fault of APC, which paid its direct contractors for 100% of all signatures and expenses submitted within a few days.

  67. paulie

    It’s quite clear that they were angling for Jon Huntsman to run on their ticket and I’m assuming that David Walker was going to be the VP.

    Evan Bayh iirc.

    I can’t wait until someone gets the balls to walk away from the Democrats and Republicans and create a “Moderate Centrist” Party to get all the center politicians that can’t seem to really coupe with either the left or right and go to the center.

    But that’s exactly what AE tried to do. All those center politicians didn’t want the hot potato of being the one to actually run and get villified by the Big Two, no matter how much they all agreed it needs to be done and no matter how much money was behind it. Even with ready made ballot access it couldn’t take off, you think it will take off on its own? Well, maybe if and when the Republicans nominate Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rand Paul or Rick Santorum for president.

  68. paulie

    Zapper: Excellent points and right on the money. Should be an article, not just a comment, what do you think? (I won’t quibble about taxes because you made so many other good points).

  69. zapper

    Part Two:

    So, how do we get enough money to advertise on major network TV?

    The obvious answer is that if we think of nationwide, major network TV, then we can’t. Not now. Maybe never. We have to advertise to get the donors we need to raise the money we need to advertise to get the donors we need …

    OK.

    The Johnson campaign needs to start an immediate segregated advertising fundraising campaign. Every dollar raised, 100% will be used to buy time, during the best morning, daytime and evening time slots on major network TV.

    Production costs of a few good spots – call Travis Irvine now – should be fronted out of other campaign funds. Make at least three good spots now. Get them up on Youtube – real 30 sec spots or maybe 60 second spots. Better yet, three of each and a five minute spot. Show the donors some great spots and promise 100% of donations to put them on the air.

    Limited funds. Yes sure. But we don’t have to go nationwide. Just major network.

    It’s about time we learned to target our advertising and campaign spending. We need to go where the major network ads are cheapest and where small bucks have a big impact.

    We need to advertise and spend enough money to drive our poll numbers up in whole states. State by state. One state at a time.

    We have limited funds, so we start with the States with the smallest populations which generally means the cheapest ad rates to buy enough rating points to drive our poll numbers up past 15%.

    This means we look at certain States, gather all of their ad rates for all of the major network stations in the media markets that are wholly contained withing these states or overlap with other targeted states.

    We can pick 8 to 10 small states to target. A group of small states with a total population smaller than many of the individual large states. With ad prices that start in the tens of dollars instead of thousands of dollars.

    We can’t afford CA or LA. We can’t afford IL or Chicago. We can’t afford NY or DC.

    But we can raise enough money to begin to saturate several smaller states with major network prime time TV ads for:

    Gary Johnson
    Libertarian for President
    2012

    We have to be willing to fund other states than our own. We have to see that the best use of our donations is to help states where we don’t live. We won’t see our state party grow, not right away, but we will see it later.

    If we give our campaign dollars now to these smaller states, we will reap the reward when our seeds grow and bear fruit. We can see the whole of American eventually covered with free and paid media buys – if we give our money away now to fund major network TV buys in the smallest of our States with the cheapest ad rates.

    But where?

    Don’t look for your own State on this list. Think bigger. Think of how we can build our whole movement, the whole Johnson campain, the whole LP.

    Here is the list:

    Alaska,
    Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont
    Montana, Idaho, Wyoming
    New Mexico, Arizona
    Nevada, Utah
    North Dakota, South Dakota

    We need to look into these 13 states.

    Media markets. Ad rates. Major network TV only .

    No cable. No internet ads. These are a waste of our limited funds.

    We pick the best opportunities. At least 7 or 8 states to start.

    The campaign should follow up in these states with campaign appearances and events. When you buy ads on major network TV in local markets, the news reporters will followup with prime time interviews of the candidates – They watch their own stations after all.

    This will result in our inclusion in polls taken in those states. Just being in the polls results in free media. (And being excluded means being at zero in the poll.)

    When we generate enough interest in the first group of states, we will get more free media and more donations. Then we can expand to a larger group of states – the next group of small states.

    (Yes. It has to be several states to avoid being ignored as a single state anomaly. And it has to be small states to start with because that’s what we can afford. It has to be whole states and not large cities because cities don’t have electoral votes, states do. And for most of you it has to be a state you don’t live in, and you have to give more money to this effort than you do to your own campaigns in your own state, so that the growth will come back to your own state in the end.)

    The time is now.

    Major Network TV advertising needs to be our number one priority.

    Small states first.

    Gary Johnson and Jim Gray, please take note.
    The staff supporting Johnson/Gray, please take note.
    My fellow Libertarians, please take note.

    The time is now and there is no time to waste.

  70. zapper

    @77 Paulie,

    Sure. If you want, make it an article. My heart started pouning and I just wrote and hit enter. Should have checked, there are a couple of typos.

  71. Jed Siple

    The first states should be

    Alaska
    Idaho
    Montana
    New Hampshire
    New Mexico
    Utah
    Wyoming

    Maybe one other. We can grow from there. The mountain west states have been good for third parties, and will appreciate the attention they typically don’t get from major parties. NM is obvious this year, NH because of the free staters, and Alaska seems ripe for libertarian success.

  72. JT

    Andy: “JT, you obviously didn’t get that I was being sarcastic.”

    No, I didn’t. Your comments seemed serious to me, but evidently I was wrong.

    Steven: “Basically I think the whole purpose of AE was to allow for its board of directors to place in a “centrist” (and definitely statist) candidate if someone they construed “too extreme” or “unelectable”…was likely to receive the GOP nomination.”

    I think this is pretty accurate. Christine Todd Whitman was on the board of AE & she was a prominent “centrist” Republican as Governor of NJ. She even wrote a book called “It’s My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP,” which took issue with the ultra-conservative wing of the party.

  73. Shawn Levasseur

    AE’s biggest problem: No grassroots, not much opportunity for local groups to rally around the AE mission. The “Community” was only seen as people who show up to vote.

    This only served to reinforce suspicions of their top-down nature.

    Even Ross Perot’s campaign was dependent on actual live people being active locally, as much as Perot’s money. (Perot’s 1992 race was my first taste of participating in politics. The local groups working for his race in Maine were key to his strong showing here that year)

    The Reform Party offices trying to hold control for themselves was their downfall in 2000, acting as if the election of Jesse Ventura was a threat to them, and juggling the rules for their own hand picked candidate for president, Pat Buchanan (why of all people… him?).

  74. zapper

    @81 Paulie,

    Zapper is fine. And I have no time for editing, so as is will have to do.

  75. Ryan C

    I have a different perspective on the ideal Johnson/LP strategy. I think some consideration should be given to targeting the solidly blue and solidly red states. Independent voters in toss up states like OH, IA, NH, VA, PA, NC are highly unlikely to vote third party, since they are more likely to consider that a wasted vote. However, since NY, CA, IL, etc. will always be blue and TX, MS, AL, etc. will always be red, it should be easier to convince independents that voting third party is not a “wasted vote”, since those states will easily vote red/blue, regardless of your vote. So, registering a protest vote in those states will send a message that it’s time to end the political duopoly and support LIMITED government, rather than BIG government.

  76. Ryan C

    Colbert and Stewart are on vacation this week. We’ll have to see if they run anything when they’re back on the air on Monday evening.

  77. Joe Buchman

    @ 92, we didn’t have a former Governor of a state before (especially one apparently still “beloved” by many in that state). The results from New Mexico this fall should, IMO, presage much about the viability of the LP going forward. If the vote total in NM is not an order of multitude beyond the vote total of Ed Clark . . . then . . . (I’ll leave it to others to think about how to fill in that blank here, as I’m not sure myself.)

  78. Sean Scallon

    “The Reform Party offices trying to hold control for themselves was their downfall in 2000, acting as if the election of Jesse Ventura was a threat to them, and juggling the rules for their own hand picked candidate for president, Pat Buchanan (why of all people… him?).”

    Uhh…that’s not the way it happened.

    Anyone who with with Buchanan 2000 campaign will tell you Buchanan was not their “hand picked” candidate. Yes the Buchanan Brigades were handy allies to make sure Ventura and his “handpicked” candidate Donald Trump got no traction within the party (which was a horrendous mistake and led to Ventura leaving the party). But it wasn’t long when Perot decided he wasn’t going to let Buchanan take over the RP either, going so far as ally himself with the Natural Law Party to prevent it from happening. Buchanan wasn’t hand-picked by anyone, he had to tear control of the party from Perot and his idiot-savant Russ Verney, who is a known wrecker of non-major party campaigns.

    Of course, as Buchanan found out, anything Perot is not in control of is something he wants no part of. Thus, no Perot money, no more Reform Party by the end of the decade. Then again, then $15 million in Federal matching funds it got in 2000 was basically a curse because it encouraged everyone from Lenora Fulani to John Hagelin to try and takeover the party to get their hands on that pot of money. This made the party look like the Star Wars bar, a convention of the fringe.

    I still think Buchanan best still represented what Reform Party could have been or at least was envisioned. But then again when you’re the “Reform Party” which is as opaque a name for a party I’ve ever heard of, then I guess it’s anyone’s ballgame.

    I wonder if anyone’s done a book on the history of the party or would entertain to publish such a history (I’d be willing to write it). I think it would be a fascinating account of the last attempt to try and create a third national i.e. non-pure ideological party and the reasons why it failed after a promising start.

  79. RedPhillips

    Ross Perot initially supported Buchanan and encouraged him to join the RP, then changed his mind. What caused him to change his mind is the subject of much speculation.

  80. Sean Scallon

    Tom Pauken maintains that Perot’s longtime aide-de-camp and political adviser Mort Meyerson convinced Perot to turn on Buchanan. Neither Meyerson nor even Perot for that matter approved of Buchanan’s book he released back in 2000 and that began the process of Perot trying to use the TM sponsoring NLP to try and stop Buchanan.

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