Americans Elect, the organization for people without an opinion, has died, and not a moment too soon.
Late Thursday night, Americans Elect, a much-ballyhooed group dedicated to securing ballot access for a serious third-party presidential candidate in 2012, issued a statement acknowledging failure.
“As of this week, no candidate achieved the national support threshold required to enter the Americans Elect online convention in June,” the statement read. “The primary process for the Americans Elect nomination has come to an end.”
Darn. I'm not sure what anyone truly thought would happen with this group, but it was not one that benefitted progressives at all. Other opinions, via Cillizza:
In the end, no candidate was able to clear the relatively low 10,000-vote threshold to “win” the Americans Elect nomination. The candidate who came closest was Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who boasts a decidedly ardent group of supporters but is far from the centrist problem-solver the founder of Americans Elect had in mind when they hatched the idea. (And Paul wasn’t even a “declared” candidate for the Americans Elect nomination; former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, who got north of 6,000 votes, did the best of that group.)
McKinnon and other true believers in the possibility of a third party insisted all was not lost. “The results are disappointing, but until confidence is restored in the parties and our institutions of government, disruptive ideas will continue to emerge,” said McKinnon.
Added former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination but since dropping out has been a major advocate for a third party: “Today’s pathetic political environment will be upended either by visionary solutions-based leadership or by the kind of disruptive organizing technology being fine-tuned by Americans Elect.”
Maybe. But the failure of Americans Elect to field a candidate in 2012 is yet more evidence that there is a cavernous gap between the idea of running a third party candidate for president and the reality of doing so — a gap no one has figured out how to bridge just yet.
Actually, I think a ticket with candidates who cancel each other out is a loser, and the death of this particular group is no great loss. Farewell, Americans Elect. Let's hope the Republican Party becomes as irrelevant as you were.