Americans Elect Seeks Independent Presidential Candidate
Upset with a dysfunctional political system that favors parties and corporate interests over the true desires of the people, a new organization is gaining traction among fed up voters across the country. Americans Elect believes that every voter should take an integral role in choosing their presidential candidate, and that any potential candidate should have the opportunity to run for President.
How does it work? Anybody can sign up at AmericansElect.org. Once you sign up you “Show your true colors”- going through a survey identifying which issues are most important to you. Once this is finished, you can take a look at candidates who feel the same way about issues as you do, ask candidates questions in online debates and select which questions you think should be included in the final candidates’ platform.
The goal: garner enough signatures to place a nonpartisan candidate, selected by the “delegates” (anyone who signs up for Americans Elect), on the ballot in all 50 states for the November general election. As of now they’re just over halfway there with 2,533,633 signatures.
Take a look at their promotional video:
The true significance of Americans Elect isn’t the candidate they select, however. Ultimately, who is selected barely matters at all, because let’s face it, the selected candidate won’t win. What matters is the way in which the candidate is selected, which I won’t call revolutionary, but certainly new and refreshing.
Will the Americans Elect candidate win the election? No. Will he or she make a dent in the election? Doubtful. They are still only halfway to having enough signatures to even get on the ballot. I’m not positive that they have figured out the best alternative, and I doubt they’ll select who is truly the best candidate, but for their sake, I hope they receive the required signatures. It would be nice to see a shot of life injected into our politics.
The American political system is certainly in dire need of a new way of fomenting discussion, thought and a new marketplace of ideas. There is also no doubt that the primary system as it is in incredibly flawed and provides far too much influence to relatively unimportant states, such as Iowa and South Carolina. Is Americans Elect the answer though? Yes and no. It may not be viable as a way to get an independent in the White House, but it does provide a valuable example first of how and why common Americans need more say and an equal say in how our leaders are elected; and second, how the two-party system as it is today prohibits real discussion and innovation in ideas. When was the last time you heard a major politician come out with a truly innovative or revolutionary idea?
There are pros and cons to a national primary. It would give each state equal influence, but it would also offer an advantage to candidates with more money who are more able to campaign across the country. Campaign finance reform could help remedy that, but that’s another issue altogether.
That our current way of doing things, at all levels of government, needs to change is a certainty. The question is really how to best do that. Americans Elect may not have figured it out exactly yet, but they offer a new way of thinking and their success can only be good for the United States.