Just after midnight Tuesday, on the heels of a deadline ratified by its delegates as part of the selection process, Americans Elect has failed to come up with a single independent presidential candidate for its online convention set for June, issuing a statement at 12:01 am reporting that, “as of today, no candidate has reached the national support threshold required” to enter the online convention.
Americans Elect is an innovative organization started in 2010 to select and run an independent candidate for president all using non-partisan, web-based processes in which any American voter can participate, but it hasn’t been without its share of controversies and criticisms. Here at Independent Voter Network we’ve even reported on the transparency issues that have plagued Americans Elect.
Following the Tuesday morning announcement, major media seem to be reporting that the project is over and that its organizers have given up, with headlines like “Americans Elect Gives Up On Finding Third Party Candidate,” and an AP report saying:
“A private organization established to run a third-party candidate in this year’s presidential elections has thrown in the towel, saying no one mustered sufficient support for such an effort.”
But it doesn’t sound like they’ve thrown in the towel yet. The AP report also notes the following in the statement from Americans Elect:
“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.”
The Politico adds:
“[Americans Elect CEO, Kahlil] Byrd said the group would confer ‘with its community’ in the coming days ‘before determining next steps for the immediate future. AE will announce the results of these conversations on Thursday, May 17.’”
Americans Elect board member (and former chief strategist for the Bush campaign), Mark McKinnon avers:
“The worst thing would be for people to look at a failure to field a candidate and conclude that there is no appetite for this kind of change, which would be just completely wrong. I think part of the issue is that politics have become so ugly that it is simply difficult to attract good people to participate. And who can blame them?”
At MSNBC’s “Maddow Blog,” Steve Benen takes a more unfavorable view:
“When it came time for the convention, organizers found they were missing two rather important elements: candidates and voters. And as of last night, the project appears to be a bust, which is heartening — Americans Elect was an overly-secretive, well-financed gimmick, eager to play electoral mischief for reasons that were never clear.”
Though they failed to meet its own threshold for online delegates in order to enter the project’s online primary, Americans Elect does have some well-credentialed candidates seeking its independent, non-partisan nomination, including former Louisiana governor, Buddy Roemer and Rocky Anderson, a former mayor of Salt Lake City.