Americans Elect as a “party” had a serious case of identity crisis/confusion, at least as seen from an external view point. I have not spoken with Peter Ackerman, Kalil Byrd, or any other member of the “powers that be” within the party to see what their goals, behind closed doors, were.
Whatever it was created for, be it to put a centrist candidate on the ballot or to get a Romney-esque Republican another chance if the GOP went more conservative, in the eyes of the real world they were effectively a failure. They did not accomplish their primary goal of running a candidate for president.What they did do was leave behind something that for all practical purposes is a tool to be used. Our political system currently requires the use of parties to get people focused on political goals. Americans Elect can be that mechanism, not because of the people who created it, but because of the opportunity it represents.
Putting aside the remainder of the country for the moment, 1.3 million signatures were collected in California. 1.3 million people said, "I want to see something different, something not controlled by the current duopoly." The “party” that was Americans Elect remains ballot eligible for the moment, and as a tool it is not a simple hammer lying around; it has the potential to be a jackhammer.
1.3 million people is 80 to 90 percent of the way to not just keep Americans Elect qualified as a party, but to achieve Top 2 in our primaries. 1.3 million people is not just a cry for help, but a roar waiting for a response.
In all their wisdom, the “powers that be” in Americans Elect did not run a candidate in a statewide race (required to maintain ballot qualification). 1.3 million Californians roared, “I want something other than the status quo!” And heard back… nothing.
Of my own volition, with no influence or suggestion from anyone, I have decided to respond to these people. I am running for lieutenant governor in California, registered as Americans Elect. I am a member of the Modern Whig Party and a follower of the Reform Party and the Centrist Project.
Within the purview of the responsibilities of the lieutenant governor, I have chosen two focuses.The first involves the roles of members of the University of California's Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees for the California State University system. As a voting member of these boards, I would pursue an investigation as to how to best utilize the University Endowments to make college more affordable for California citizens.
We pay taxes for these universities. Why do our students graduate with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt? We need to make these tremendous institutions more available to all and utilize them at all levels of our education system.
The second focus involves the role of the chair of the California Commission for Economic Development. As a state, we should investigate the possibility of having a California state bank. Instead of small businesses getting funds from rich Wall Street bankers, we should keep the money in California with responsible interest rates for business development. An added benefit is that the profit a California state bank would make off the interest loans, would stay in state for possible additional developmental uses.
Combining this with a push for a revitalization of our manufacturing sector, which accounts for not only direct jobs, but also jobs in supporting industries, and we can have California back to work and independent of any dependency on big banks or government handouts.
We need to empower people through better educational access without burdensome costs for decades down the road, and with jobs of all types and easier mechanisms to start small businesses and self-employment.
Why can I do this when others can’t? I owe no favors and will not take any donations from the special interests that currently manage the “party chosen” options that are presented to us. I have no Wall Street backers and no investment from the universities. I am free to investigate options that others have been told not to pursue because of where they get their money and marching orders.
I am open to more suggestions on how to fix these areas, as these merely represent starting points and alternative options.
Photo Credit: Genaro Molina / LA Times