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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:28 pm 
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http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com ... ?hpt=hp_t2

Don't like the presidential candidates? Nominate your own online
Editor's Note: Luke Shuffield is a junior at Duke University majoring in political theory. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Luke Shuffield.

By Luke Shuffield – Special to CNN

A full year away from election 2012, America’s two political parties seem to be falling apart. Republicans nationwide are struggling to survive their rollercoaster of a primary. Democrats are finding themselves disillusioned with President Obama and confused about how to appeal to the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

In the midst of all this chaos, an alternative is starting to make some noise.
AmericansElect.org is a new, internet-based, direct-nomination initiative with the potential to put a nonpartisan ticket on the 2012 ballot. If it succeeds, a candidate directly chosen by the people will appear on the presidential ballot nationwide for the first time in our country's history. Although many remain skeptical, I believe Americans Elect is a serious game-changer - one that will have a lasting affect on the political arena.

By setting up a profile and answering political questions, users define their stances and shape the debate. The site recently launched a beta version of its "Candidates" section, in which users can evaluate and choose to support various public figures. Soon, users will even be able to draft their own qualified candidates. In 2012, all the site’s users who are registered voters will serve as “delegates,” voting online in a real national convention that will produce the official Americans Elect ticket.

As of November 2, the website had raised almost $22 million in donations, gathered almost 2 million petition signatures, and had used those signatures to secure a spot on the 2012 ballot in seven states (including the all-important Florida), according to Reuters. These are staggering numbers for a relatively new organization.

Americans Elect picked the perfect time to enter the political space. A recent Rasmussen poll found that only 20% of likely voters believe that “the government has the consent of the governed.” Congressional approval ratings remain at an all-time low of 13%. A full 58% of Americans now say they are “furious” with U.S. politics, and almost nine in ten say they are “frustrated” with it. And when it comes to elections themselves, people are looking for new ways to choose. According to a recent Gallup poll, 62% of Americans now support replacing the Electoral College with a popular vote.

With respect to the two political parties, the dissatisfaction has reached its boiling point. None of the individual Republican candidates have been able to generate any kind of significant positive intensity. The situation for the Democrats isn’t much better. President Obama’s approval rating hit its lowest point in his administration at 41% in his 11th quarter. The only commander-in-chief since Dwight Eisenhower to sink that low this late in the game was Jimmy Carter.

Occupy Wall Street has now expanded beyond Zuccotti Park. Protesters are crying out against crony capitalism and corporate oligarchy. President Obama’s appointment of bankers like Tim Geithner for federal office certainly won’t help him in 2012 with the OWS crowd. Most importantly, OWS has persistently refused to be co-opted by the Democratic Party. It plays by no one’s rules.

Meanwhile, we have repeatedly seen the powerful influence of social media on the real world. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have proven to be important players in the Arab Spring. Even in our own election in 2008, Barack Obama’s team revived the youth vote by dominating the social media scene.

It is from these seeds of widespread discontent and explosive Internet potential that Americans Elect has grown. It gives moderates the chance to choose a candidate who genuinely matches their political views, rather than “the lesser of two evils.” It makes people feel that their vote actually matters and that any citizen can change the outcome. Quite frankly, it’s cool. The visual layout, the system of self-classification through specific questions, the seamless connection to every major social media platform - everything about AmericansElect.org is slick and user-friendly.

Will Americans Elect encounter serious roadblocks? Absolutely. Questions about the organization’s 501(c)4 status have already surfaced. Will the Americans Elect candidate “steal” young votes from President Obama, leading to a Republican victory? Is it a real precursor to the standard voting mechanism of the future? These are important questions that we must leave unanswered for now. Still, you can’t help but wonder aloud at the website’s bold words: “Won’t we all vote this way someday?”


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:18 pm 
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I'm a bit skeptical, to say the least.
I see nothing of who controls the servers. They would be a gatekeeper for
reporting the vote and which candidates to promote or suppress.
Nothing is said of independent auditing procedures or the maintaining of a "chain of custody" regarding the results.
This seems like a perfect "trojan horse" to get on the ballot pretty much whomever they want. I wonder who in their right mind would have donated so much. Don't know what type of an organization they are and whether donor info can even be publicly obtained on them.

Also,
"Black box Voting", who has exposed much of the vulnerabilities in the electronic voting machines, does not think much of them (AmericansElect.org) either.

http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums ... page=81772

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Laurence Kotlikoff has been publishing some grat articles on how to fox the economy....didn't realize he was involved in this initiative....
http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2012/02 ... d=HP_River


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:59 pm 
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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/opini ... yt&emc=rss
EVENTUALLY the “circular firing squad” that is the Republican primary will be over and the last man standing will be the party’s nominee for president. If that candidate is Rick Santorum, I think there is a good chance a Third Party will try to fill the space between the really “severely conservative” Santorum (or even Mitt Romney) and the left-of-center Barack Obama. It would be fitting. After all, this is the 20th anniversary of Ross Perot’s independent candidacy. Perot won close to 20 percent of the vote, and his success was instrumental in making deficit reduction one of Bill Clinton’s top priorities. An independent candidate in 2012 who was a little more, shall we say, “normal” than Perot could have an equally big impact on the winner. I still don’t know if I’d support an independent. Like others, I worry about electing the wrong person by accident. (See: Ralph Nader and George W. Bush.) But I know what I’d pay good money to see: an intelligent independent candidate just taking part in the presidential debates, because it would make both Obama and his Republican opponent better. One independent I’d like to see play that role is David Walker.

Walker was the country’s chief auditor, serving from 1998 to 2008 as the U.S. comptroller general. He is currently the chief executive of the Comeback America Initiative (www.tcaii.org), a nonpartisan group dedicated to getting America’s fiscal house in order. Walker — who came in second to Hillary Clinton in a reader poll that Politico conducted last October for favorite Third Party candidate — told me that he has no desire to run but that he’s been speaking across the country, trying to do what Perot did.

“He did three things,” says Walker. “He woke up the American people to the truth about our fiscal situation in clear, concise and compelling terms. He made the presidential debates much more substantive, and he helped to set the next president’s agenda, and, as a result, we made great progress in reducing the deficit from 1993 to 2000. Now we have lost all of that and more.”

Walker’s view is simple: “We are not Greece, where the government grew too big, promised too much and waited too long to restructure, but we’re making many of the same mistakes.” Because of the size of the U.S. economy and the dollar’s role as a global reserve currency, we “have some time” to get our house in order, “but we are not immune from the laws of prudent finance.”

Alas, both of our major parties behave as though we are. The Democrats, argues Walker, “are still in denial about the need to renegotiate our social insurance contract.” Walker praises Obama for focusing on the right metric — our overall debt-to-G.D.P. ratio — and in offering short-term ideas to enhance economic growth and address unemployment, like investments in infrastructure. But these ideas, he says, have to be “coupled with a credible and enforceable plan to address the structural deficits that threaten our nation’s future position in the world and our standard of living at home” — and there Obama continues to fall short.

“He is not talking about the fundamental reforms in Medicare and Medicaid that we need, and he is not ready to touch Social Security,” says Walker, referring to Obama’s latest budget. Also, Obama “talks about tax reform, but it is not comprehensive, and he is using creative accounting to get to his budget numbers. His proposals don’t come close to stabilizing our debt-to-G.D.P. ratio at the level we need.”

Walker says the president’s budget cuts discretionary spending programs by 1 percent over 10 years, but mandatory spending programs — like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and interest on debt — will be left to grow by more than 96 percent over the same decade. As a result, in the year 2022, more than 77 percent of total government outlays will be on auto-pilot, “which is irresponsible and unsustainable.” There will be little left for defense or infrastructure, education and research that build our future.

As for Republicans, says Walker, “they don’t have a plan to restore fiscal sanity either. They’re in denial that we can solve our structural deficit problems with either our current level of taxation — between 15 and 16 percent of G.D.P. — or even with our historical average, about 18 percent of G.D.P. We need more revenue. Our deficit problem is primarily a spending problem, but it is not only a spending problem.”

We need $1 in new revenue for every $3 in spending cuts, excluding interest, says Walker — and that should be accomplished through tax reform that makes our system “simpler, fairer and more competitive,” while generating more revenue. “The Republicans are simply in denial about this.”

The American people are “starved for three things,” concludes Walker: “truth, leadership and solutions.” Unfortunately, the two parties are just offering “laggardship — waiting for something to hit the fan” so they can again just react “without adequate due diligence.”

After months of nutty, gravity-free Republican primary debates, how great would it be to have presidential debates in which a smart independent like Walker was in the middle to challenge both sides and offer sensible solutions?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:04 pm 
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I don't even have to look him up - I am already certain that this guy is going to turn out to be liberal on all the social issues... :roll:


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:26 am 
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QuoVadisAnima wrote:
I don't even have to look him up - I am already certain that this guy is going to turn out to be liberal on all the social issues... :roll:

Finding that I care about those issues less and less every TRILLION dollars or so further this country goes into debt......


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:32 am 
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Nevertheless, many believe that the two areas are inseparable, economically speaking, & so will never vote for a fiscal conservative/social liberal.

I have visions of Ross Perot dancing thru my head - someone make it stop! :barf


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:24 am 
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steves wrote:
QuoVadisAnima wrote:
I don't even have to look him up - I am already certain that this guy is going to turn out to be liberal on all the social issues... :roll:

Finding that I care about those issues less and less every TRILLION dollars or so further this country goes into debt......


Wow, thats a shame. Let me put that into real-world terms: "I know that abortion kills over a million babies per year in the US, but we need someone who will let those murders continue and focus their time and energy on balancing the budget!"

If any amount of US debt is enough to literally CHANGE your priorities, then at least dont act like certain things mattered to you in the first place.



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:57 pm 
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steves wrote:
QuoVadisAnima wrote:
I don't even have to look him up - I am already certain that this guy is going to turn out to be liberal on all the social issues... :roll:

Finding that I care about those issues less and less every TRILLION dollars or so further this country goes into debt......

I'll admit that I never had you figured for a sellout, steves. The economic issues the country is facing is a symptom of where our hearts are. I believe that answer is implanted firmly in our wallets. To quote Ronald Reagan "If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." it looks to me like the Titanic is sinking from here in 3rd class.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:30 am 
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How can God bless America when we are murdering little babies every day? We are a nation soaked in innocent blood. God has been patient and merciful.... so far.

"Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever." -Thomas Jefferson


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:05 pm 
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On twitter, Americans Elect just tweeted that Alan Graysonn is their nominee! :lol: remember the far left loon Alan Grayson?

If this is for real, and Americans Elect is on the ballot anywhere, then it hurts Obama.

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They waste, they wither worse; they as they run
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All is from wreck, here, there, to rescue one—
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Makes welcome death, does dear forgetfulness.
Or what is else? There is your world within.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:47 am 
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steves wrote:
QuoVadisAnima wrote:
I don't even have to look him up - I am already certain that this guy is going to turn out to be liberal on all the social issues... :roll:

Finding that I care about those issues less and less every TRILLION dollars or so further this country goes into debt......

Good book....check it out
http://www.amazon.com/Americas-Ticking- ... 610&sr=8-1


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:24 pm 
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The debt threatens the American dream for many. Abortion is a certain end to any dream for a million Americans a year. There is no comparison.

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THE TIMES are nightfall, look, their light grows less;
The times are winter, watch, a world undone:
They waste, they wither worse; they as they run
Or bring more or more blazon man’s distress.
And I not help. Nor word now of success:
All is from wreck, here, there, to rescue one—
Work which to see scarce so much as begun
Makes welcome death, does dear forgetfulness.
Or what is else? There is your world within.
There rid the dragons, root out there the sin.
Your will is law in that small commonweal…
G.M. Hopkins.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:06 pm 
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Miserere wrote:
The debt threatens the American dream for many.

un·der·state·ment   Show Spelled[uhn-der-steyt-muhnt]
— n
the act or an instance of stating something in restrained terms, or as less than it is


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:43 pm 
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steves wrote:
Miserere wrote:
The debt threatens the American dream for many.

un·der·state·ment   Show Spelled[uhn-der-steyt-muhnt]
— n
the act or an instance of stating something in restrained terms, or as less than it is


I'd much rather understate the severity of our fiscal issues than understate a holocaust in our midst.

Hypothetical: there are two buttons, you're only allowed to press one of them. The blue button eliminates our debt, the deficit, and puts us on a completely sustainable fiscal path. The red button instantaneously amends the constitution so that every person's right to life is protected, from conception until natural death. You're only allowed to press one of them.

Which one do you press? Why?

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THE TIMES are nightfall, look, their light grows less;
The times are winter, watch, a world undone:
They waste, they wither worse; they as they run
Or bring more or more blazon man’s distress.
And I not help. Nor word now of success:
All is from wreck, here, there, to rescue one—
Work which to see scarce so much as begun
Makes welcome death, does dear forgetfulness.
Or what is else? There is your world within.
There rid the dragons, root out there the sin.
Your will is law in that small commonweal…
G.M. Hopkins.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:12 pm 
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Miserere wrote:
steves wrote:
Miserere wrote:
The debt threatens the American dream for many.

un·der·state·ment   Show Spelled[uhn-der-steyt-muhnt]
— n
the act or an instance of stating something in restrained terms, or as less than it is


I'd much rather understate the severity of our fiscal issues than understate a holocaust in our midst.

Hypothetical: there are two buttons, you're only allowed to press one of them. The blue button eliminates our debt, the deficit, and puts us on a completely sustainable fiscal path. The red button instantaneously amends the constitution so that every person's right to life is protected, from conception until natural death. You're only allowed to press one of them.

Which one do you press? Why?

That's easy......I press the blue one of course. Why? From Town Hall:

5 Things That Will Happen To You When America Goes Bankrupt
"Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Does it seem too strong to call the way America deals with its debt "madness?" If not madness, then what? Denial? An addiction? However you phrase it, we're a country that's in deep trouble, but so many of us seem unable to deal with it.

Liberals in this country, for the most part, will admit that we're running up "unsustainable" deficits. Yet, these same liberals adamantly oppose any and all serious efforts to do anything about it. Once you move out from liberals to the general public, once again you'll find plenty of people who admit that this nation has a huge problem. Yet, when you leave generalities, get down to specifics, and start looking for programs to cut, then suddenly everyone gets nervous and says, "never mind." It's like the old saying, "Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die."

Sadly, this is a natural outgrowth of ladling out public funds to special interests. There is so much collective money that few people feel or appreciate it when even billions are saved. Yet, if we yank even a few million away from special interest groups like PBS, Planned Parenthood, or the unions, they squeal like pigs that are about to accidentally be put in the wolves’ pen at the zoo.

In the face of that, people have to realize that this country is on pace to go bankrupt -- and it could happen relatively soon if we don't start taking serious steps to control our spending. Mike Pence thinks we could just be ten to fifteen years away. Tom Coburn is less optimistic and thinks it could happen in as little as five years. If that happens, we're not a tiny country like Greece -- we're the biggest economy in the world. That means there's no cavalry coming to pay our bills for us because we ARE the cavalry.

What happens then? Well, we don't know for sure, but we can make some educated guesses about what COULD happen and how it will impact YOUR life.

1) Your life savings could be reduced to nothing almost overnight. Inflation is a fact of life. As Thomas Sowell has noted, "As of 1998, a $100 bill would not buy as much as a $20 bill would buy in the 1960's." That's under normal circumstances.

However, the thing governments have traditionally done when they simply can't pay their debts is print more money. The problem with this is the further you expand the money supply, the less the money you already have on hand is worth. This can wipe out the savings of a lifetime in a relatively short period. Imagine spending billions of dollars just to buy a loaf of bread. Sound far-fetched? Well, guess what? That has happened in the Weimar Republic, which was crushed under debts from WWI and decided to pay it off by printing more money. It could happen here, too, and all the money you've scrimped and saved could become worthless in a short order.

2) Your taxes will skyrocket. We've been conned into thinking that we can fund a massive government on the backs of the rich. This is simply not so. It's not working today and it's not going to happen in the future. We cannot tax the rich enough to pay off our debt or even enough to keep the government going long-term. Even if we could, the rich have the resources to flee the country for greener pastures if they're being taxed into oblivion. The middle class? Not so much.

What that means is the more desperate the government gets, the more the average American is going to be hammered with new taxes. How much more of your income can you afford to send overseas to pay China for the money they've loaned us to keep PBS, Planned Parenthood, and the National Endowment of the Arts going? What about if the country goes bankrupt and your income tax rate shoots up fifty percent? How are you going to pay your mortgage? How are you going to feed your kids? When the government runs out of cash and it can't borrow any more money, then it will start leveling massive taxes on the American people.

3) Your life could be in danger. If the government goes bankrupt, you'll have an extremely angry, confused, and frustrated populace that has little faith in its leaders -- combined with a horrific economy and a reduced ability of the government to keep order. Under those circumstances, widespread rioting and violent crime seem entirely plausible.

When Argentina had its crisis, violence went up 142% and "young men began looting supermarkets."

Here's some of what happened during the German hyperinflation of the currency in Weimar Republic after it started printing money night and day,

The flight from currency that had begun with the buying of diamonds, gold, country houses, and antiques now extended to minor and almost useless items -- bric-a-brac, soap, hairpins. The law-abiding country crumbled into petty thievery. Copper pipes and brass armatures weren't safe. Gasoline was siphoned from cars. People bought things they didn't need and used them to barter -- a pair of shoes for a shirt, some crockery for coffee. Berlin had a "witches' Sabbath" atmosphere. Prostitutes of both sexes roamed the streets. Cocaine was the fashionable drug.

4) Your payments from the government will dramatically decrease or stop altogether. Contrary to what some people believe, Medicare and Social Security are paid out of the same fund that pays for everything else. In other words, if the government goes bankrupt, there is no money set aside to pay for these programs. So, if you're receiving Social Security, Medicare, welfare, food stamps, or any other similar programs, those checks could stop or be slashed down to nothing. That seems unthinkable to people, but if the government doesn't have any money, then it can't pay it out to people. As they say, "You can't get blood out of a turnip."

5) You will have a dramatically reduced standard of living. If taxes and inflation escalate dramatically, both of which are very likely if we go bankrupt, economic activity will slow to a crawl and we'll go into a depression. We're not talking about a "This is the worst economy since the Depression" situation that we hear every time there's a mild downturn in the economy; we're talking about a REAL depression. Businesses will close left and right, the stock market will tank, unemployment will soar to heights not seen since the thirties, and the government won't be in a position to help very much.

If that happens in a country like America, where people have been so prosperous for so long, it's going to produce utter misery. It's not a lot of fun to be poor under the best of circumstances, but it's much worse to go from having a comfortable life with a bright future to growing vegetables to eat in the backyard and wondering how you're going to keep warm in the winter.

This is not the future I want for my daughhters (3)......and yet I would be powerless to prevent it and so would need the " blue button."

As for the "red button" - that is a matter I can control......I raise my daughters right. Now if everybody else would do the same, we wouldn't need the button.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:47 am 
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Kill the American Primary to Save American Politics: Ezra Klein
2012-03-14 23:00:34.0 GMT


(For more Bloomberg View, click on VIEW <GO>.)

By Ezra Klein
March 15 (Bloomberg) -- By now, you’ve probably heard of Americans Elect, the political-reform group funded by a collection of Wall Street executives (some of whom remain
anonymous) who hope to field a bipartisan presidential ticket in 2012.
Americans Elect has been amply, but poorly, covered. The part of its strategy that generates the most attention is also the part that’s most wrongheaded: an effort to nominate a bipartisan superticket to contest for the presidency in 2012.
This sort of thing is a perennial fantasy. At its best, it’s mostly harmless. The candidates run weak campaigns and fade away. At its worst, it can split the vote for reasonable candidates and let extreme politicians slip into office. Either way, it perpetuates a harmful misunderstanding about what’s wrong with our political system, and what it will take to fix it.
It’s seductive to believe that all Washington needs to thrive is an independent-minded presidential candidate who will expose the folly of partisanship and remind Americans of our shared values and the common good. But it’s not true. Just ask Barack Obama, who ran on hope, change and post-partisanship. Ask George W. Bush, who promised to be “a uniter, not a divider.” It would be nice if our problems were so superficial that we could solve them with an inspiring campaign and a new occupant in the Oval Office. But governing isn’t the last act of an Aaron Sorkin drama.

Change the System

The political system is, above all, a system. Into this machine we place leaders defined by different partisan affiliations, coalitions, ideas and personalities. Yet it continues to work much the same from year to year, presidency to presidency. If you want change -- and polling suggests many Americans do -- you can’t just move a new person into office.
You need to change the system.
Which brings us to the interesting part of what Americans Elect is doing.
Although Americans Elect is often marketed as a third party, its founders point out that it’s no such thing. “It’s not about dropping your ideological framework,” says Elliot Ackerman, the chief operating officer of Americans Elect and son of Peter Ackerman, the group’s main funder. “That’s unnecessary.
What is truly the innovation here is the second nominating process.”
Here’s what he means: The group’s real accomplishment is having secured ballot lines in all 50 states. That’s not easily done. Different states have different rules for getting on the ballot, and the rules can be both complicated and costly to follow. (Consider Virginia, where Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were the only two Republican presidential candidates to make their party’s primary ballot.) Kahlil Byrd, the chief executive officer of Americans Elect, estimates that the organization has spent about $15 million clearing ballot hurdles in the states.
Most states let a party remain on the ballot once its candidate has obtained a threshold percentage of the vote.
Americans Elect is hoping that its bipartisan ticket will reap a sufficient number of votes in 2012 to ensure ballot access in
2014 and beyond. If not, Americans Elect will have to spend millions more. Either way, it plans to be on the ballot in every state, at every level. “What’s really important is making sure that this becomes a perpetual effort, that in 2014 and 2016, you see governors and senators and congressmen running on it,” Byrd says. That’s the point at which Americans Elect moves beyond fantasy tickets and takes aim at the system.

Primary Leverage

“The problem we have is members of a political party can’t defect,” Elliot Ackerman says. “The real reason defections are so difficult is people go home and they’re faced by a primary challenger. There’s a huge amount of leverage right now on people who fear being primaried.”
To put that slightly differently, primaries are one of the tools used to enforce polarization. You might be a moderate Republican from Delaware, or a moderate Democrat from Colorado, and inclined to cross the aisle fairly frequently. But before you can be judged by the full electorate in Delaware or Colorado, you must win your party’s primary. And the voters in that primary are, on the whole, much less moderate than the voters in a general election.
If primaries were easy, candidates could just worry about the general. But particularly in recent years, and particularly in the Republican Party, primaries have become a serious threat to incumbents. Just ask former Senator Bob Bennett of Utah, or former Representative Mike Castle of Delaware, both of whom lost Republican primaries in 2010 to Tea Party opponents who condemned political moderation. Or ask Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who lost her party’s primary that same year to a Tea Party challenger before running as an independent.
With no ballot line to support her candidacy, Murkowski pulled off a rare feat -- winning as a write-in candidate.
“Running as an independent candidate is not something that’s particularly easy to do,” Ackerman says. “It’s like running with a parachute.”
Americans Elect plans to throw the independent-minded a ballot line. Candidates can run on the Americans Elect line, but still caucus with the Democrats, the Republicans or no party at all. In effect, the goal isn’t to create a new party, but to provide a new path for moderate members of the two reigning parties.
“People look at the Democratic and Republican primary process at every level and they simply don’t want to go through what is needed to compete,” Byrd says. “Americans Elect is dealing with that pain point.”
Will many politicians -- incumbents or newcomers -- choose this path? Probably not, and definitely not at first. It increases the likelihood of a three-way race in which Americans Elect candidates would see their support siphoned by whoever gets the nomination of their party, making victory on the Americans Elect line unlikely. It also means that Americans Elect candidates would be cut off from traditional networks for fundraising, volunteer support and campaign expertise, which political parties provide.
But if a high-profile incumbent, under threat of a primary challenge from the far right or left, takes the Americans Elect route, the practice could spread. (Are you listening, Senator Dick Lugar?) In that case, Americans Elect could help undermine one of the major methods by which parties enforce ideological discipline. It might give legislators like Bennett, Castle and Murkowski a license to cross the aisle -- and survive. Then, if nothing else, we’d see more clearly how much polarization is baked into the system, and how much is a product of the particular people inside it.

(Ezra Klein is a Bloomberg View columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)


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