Earlier this week Americans Elect announced what pundits, interested observers, and active participants had been predicting for weeks – the lack of engagement on their $9 million website meant that no interested or qualified candidate had met their own previously established benchmark of support required for nomination to the Americans Elect ticket. The organization’s own rules had caused it to fail. They’re without a nominee.
At this time, it’s not quite clear if the effort for a third party bi-partisan ticket is dead or not. On Thursday of this week Americans Elect issued an ominous press release that included the following:
“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.”
Despite sensationalized headlines from major news sources like the Washington Post celebrating their demise, it looks like Americans Elect might head back to the drawing board to see if they can salvage an already expensive third party run which has gained ballot access in twenty-seven states already, though yesterday’s release seems to leave that open as well despite a statement earlier this week from the group’s CEO, Kahlil Byrd:
“Under the rules that AE delegates ratified, the primary process would end today. There is, however, an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process.
Every step of the way, AE has conferred with its community before making major decisions. We will do the same this week before determining next steps for the immediate future. AE will announce the results of these conversations on Thursday, May 17.”
Americans Elect has made several mistakes which have been roundly criticized by many in the media and blogosphere: a lack of transparency, a lack of “viable” candidates, and an inability to engage their users have all contributed to what amounts to a very high profile failure to “nominate” even one candidate.
It initially looked like there was some hope for the organization – candidates like Buddy Roemer, for instance. The former Governor and Congressman (those titles give a candidate at least some credibility, right?) from Louisiana has developed a powerful anti-Washington, anti-Corporate message that could resonate with enough voters to create a spoiler candidacy in November. However, in a move that’s classically “WTF?” – Roemer recently undermined his own candidacy with an “Anti-Spoiler” pledge – he’ll tell his backers to vote for a major party candidate if he believes he can’t win the Presidency in November.
So today Americans Elect has a decidedly uncertain future, and unless it radically shakes up its current model, it will end up, as Salon’s Alex Pareene wrote, ‘defeated by American indifference.’