Monday, July 25, 2011

Americans Elect 2012 - a viable alternative?

I think I count myself among many, many Americans who were disappointed that Barack Obama has not ended the wars, has not closed Gitmo, let Wall Street get away with their crimes, did not focus on the economy, capitulated too much to conservatives on healthcare reform, did not let the Bush tax cuts expire, and has not shown the kind of leadership in office that he appeared capable of on the campaign trail. I know most of us probably had unrealistic expectations so disappointment was inevitable, but there's just far too much "new boss is same as the old boss" for me to feel completely comfortable continuing to blindly follow him through another 4 years.

George Washington (and others) have warned us of the dangers of entrenched party loyalties that supersede the good of the country. We've managed to deal with it relatively well over time, though any positions that do not reflect the ideology of one of the major parties does not get any traction in our national dialogue. This may be about to change. I'm pretty skeptical of the possibility of success for any grassroots effort not wholly or partially endorsed by one of the two major parties (see and The Tea Party for examples of successful efforts not free of party loyalty). But now there may be.

Check out Americans Elect 2012

From What I've read about it, it's an attempt to bring democracy back to electoral politics by creating an internet convention in which people who sign up for the sight select the issues that are priorities, the solutions that matter, and then nominate a presidential candidate. The candidate then must choose a running mate who is not affiliated with the same party.

This sounds too good to be true so we'll see how much traction they get, but there are deep hedge fundy pockets behind this effort and there appears to be a pretty strong chance that they'll get recognized for the presidential ballot in all 50 states. I'd say this is pretty exciting if it actually works.

Even If it doesn't work to create a viable, competitive 3rd party candidacy, it has the possibility of derailing one of the major party candidates, as fringe third parties have done over the years, stealing just enough votes from the more similar major party candidate to swing the election the other way. Remember, in 1992, 1996, and 2000 the president was elected with less than 50% of the popular vote.

Anyway, I've signed up and shared my views with them. You should too. Let's actually get the people's voice heard this time around! Even if we can't win this thing with a candidate that truly represents the views of the voters of this country, maybe we can force the major candidates to take positions that reflect our own beliefs about how this country should be run.

As you take the survey on the site, look at how your answers compare to the other tens of thousands of people who have already answered. The American people do not have much stomach for much of the agenda of either major party. It's time they knew that.


  1. I also thought it sounded cool. But I can't sign up because of the Times. Look forward to hearing/reading what you have to say about it.

  2. btw

    In 2012, The National Popular Vote bill could guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    The bill would take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes-- enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). All the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA ,RI, VT, and WA . The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, VT, and WA. These 8 jurisdictions possess 77 electoral votes-- 29% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.