Americans Elect is not a Third Party, It’s a Second Nominating Process

Darry Sragow
Americans Elect advisor, Attorney, Democratic strategist and USC professor

As Americans Elect, which will provide ballot access to a third presidential candidate this November, opens it doors to candidates and draft movements for the AE nomination, it will be helpful for you to know what AE is and what it isn’t.

Those political insiders currently obsessed with debating which major party benefits from Americans Elect as an alleged “spoiler” are missing the point. AE is not a third party, it’s a second nominating process, which allows all Americans to directly nominate a candidate for the first time in our nation’s history.

We have no position on any candidate or issue, so the power to set the agenda and select a nominee rests entirely in the hands of our delegates—voters from across the country and political spectrum. Candidates for the AE nomination must pick a Vice Presidential running mate from a party or non-party other than their own, to build a coalition ticket capable of governing without regard to narrow partisan interests. Whoever our delegates choose will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia this November.

This isn’t about benefiting a particular party or major party nominee, it’s about benefiting all Americans. And I believe we’re doing that in three major ways.

First, we’re providing competition in the political marketplace by offering a third choice, selected directly by the American people.

For too long, each party has sought votes on the premise that they aren’t quite as bad as the other. Americans deserve better than the lesser of two evils. Competition is a core American value. It improves products and services in the business world, and we expect it will do the same in the political world.

In California, the voters have repeatedly tried to increase competition in the political market place.  Short term limits, redistricting by an independent commission, the top two primary are each an anti trust measure enacted directly by the voters. AE is consistent with their determination to foster a more responsive government by increasing electoral competition.

Second, we’re using the Internet to offer every American an equal say in the political process.

This primary season we’re seeing once again just how much power the people in a handful of states  wield over the options for President in California and nationally. That disproportionate influence is problematic not only because of the small number of participants in those states, but because the political concerns of the people in those states are in some ways very different than those across the nation, and certainly in California.

With the Americans Elect process, all votes are created equal. And Americans Elect delegates can keep their present party registration and vote in their party’s primary.

Third, we’re breaking down the barriers that prevent most Americans from participating directly in the political system, so constituencies whose voices are traditionally given short shrift in presidential elections can now be heard. Imagine the power of senior citizens, small business owners, Latinos, environmental groups, labor rank and file, and others coming together to field and support a candidate who truly shares their concerns.

These constituencies and others like them often get little more than lip service from the major party candidates. With Americans Elect, they can mobilize their members and supporters to become delegates and nominate their preferred candidate, who will compete on the ballot nationwide.

Rank-and-file American voters have never had so much power in nominating a presidential candidate. Already more than 350,000 people have signed up as Americans Elect delegates, and millions more have signed petitions to get us on the ballot in their states. With their participation we’ll pick a president, not a party.

Please go to AmericansElect.org and check us out. Americans Elect trusts American voters. We can’t wait to see what they decide given a real choice.

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