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The New Independent Party Blog

This Blog is maintained by Mike Barron, Executive Director and Founder of the New Independent Party. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Party, its Board of Governors or its Members.

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Americans Elect bows out for 2012

Recently Americans Elect decided to drop out of the 2012 Presidential election. The decision was apparently motivated by the failure of any of the announced candidates on their web site to receive 10,000 votes of support. The candidate who came closest was Buddy Roemer, former Louisiana Governor.

Americans Elect was very well financed (in the 10's of millions of dollars). Their failure to catch on means something for our efforts but I'm not sure exactly what. They had no party platform and that may have discouraged people from joining. They also were secretive about some of their sources of funding. Their explanation, as provided by Cristie Whitman on an NPR interview, was that some of their major donors wished to remain anonymous because they were concerned about the reaction from the major parties. I have also seen it reported that Americans Elect was committed to returning some of the funding they had received from large donors. This may have acted to discourage small donors from contributing. Another concern often voiced about Americans Elect, is that it would draw support from one or the other of the major parties. I think both Democrats and Republicans suspected it was an attempt to drain support from them.

All of the above reasons are possible explanations for Americans Elect's failure to succeed despite their substantial funding. None of them, however, provides any cause for concern for the approach advocated by the New Independent Party. What would be a cause for concern is if the real reason for their failure was that America is not that interested in moderate candidates. There is the possibility that the American electorate is really as polarized as the political process.

I don't think this is the case, but the experience of Americans Elect serves to illustrate just how difficult it will be to nudge the political process out of its current pattern of polarization even with significant funding.

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