Bad news: Great new centrist-party hope can’t pick a nominee

posted at 11:21 am on May 15, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

It was perhaps the most well-funded start to an aspirational “third party” in the last few decades, and it had plenty of higher-profile support.  Americans Elect has already qualified for the general election ballot in 27 states.  The organization asked people to pick its nominees in a big on-line effort, which produced … no contenders:

Americans Elect, the deep-pocketed nonprofit group that set out to nominate a centrist third-party presidential ticket, admitted early Tuesday that its ballyhooed online nominating process had failed.

The group had qualified for the general election ballot in 27 states, and had generated concern among Democrats and Republicans alike that it could wreak havoc on a close election between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

But just after a midnight deadline Monday, the group acknowledged that its complicated online nominating process had failed to generate sufficient interest to push any of the candidates who had declared an interest in its nomination over the threshold in its rules.

Fear not, brave independents.  Americans Elect plans to continue their efforts to find a nominee, just as soon as they figure out how to bypass their own rules to do it.  This will give the nominee credibility, apparently:

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.

Every step of the way, AE has conferred with its community before making major decisions. We will do the same this week before determining next steps for the immediate future. AE will announce the results of these conversations on Thursday, May 17.

No one should be surprised that AE fell on its face.  Two weeks ago, Politico reported that the nominating process had to be put off because they couldn’t find anyone qualified to run.  Their last hope was a former US Comptroller General named David Walker, who might possibly have been the most obscure person ever mentioned for a much-ballyhooed third-party launch.  Even John Anderson in 1980 had more name recognition.  Alexander Burns and Emily Schultheis put their collective finger on the central conceit of Americans Elect:

Walker has neither. What he — or another independent candidate — might have, is the sympathy of elites who cling to the view that the right common-sense leader could march into Washington and set the nation’s house in order.

The people behind this effort somehow believed that they represented voters better than voters represent themselves through party registration, and like a lot of elites, thought that they could handpick voter choices better than the voters.  The Tea Party has much more resonance as a self-organized group of active voters even without the aspirations of becoming an actual political party, and they do a better job of picking their leaders, too.

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All the “centrists” already committed to having “no labels”.

Lost in Jersey on May 15, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Americans Elect, the deep-pocketed nonprofit group that set out to nominate a centrist third-party presidential ticket, split the anybody but Obama vote

FIFY.

rbj on May 15, 2012 at 11:28 AM

How about we nominate Ralph Nader for them.

rbj on May 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM

What do you think will happen when you get wishy washy voters. They wait to see who’s popular before they commit to that person.

BroncosRock on May 15, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I hear Tim Cahill from Massachusetts is available.

BKennedy on May 15, 2012 at 11:31 AM

I think the best thing to do to avoid insulting the intelligence of these incredibly smart and wise elites is to suspend all elections until they have a nominee. Obviously such brilliant people have the intellect to run all of our lives efficiently, so we need to slow our roll and let them handle theirs.

NotCoach on May 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM

The people behind this effort somehow believed that they represented voters better than voters represent themselves through party registration, and like a lot of elites, thought that they could handpick voter choices better than the voters

.

And they are going to keep at it until the people make the “right” choice.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM

I’m a Mitt supporter. In all honesty he is a centrist. we already have one.

gerrym51 on May 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM

So what are these people running on? Any ideas that are different? Or are they just leftists too ashamed to call themselves leftists, as most leftists are?

MNHawk on May 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Just another case of intellectuals thinking they know better than us stoooopid little people.

search4truth on May 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM

How about we nominate Ralph Nader for them.

rbj on May 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Wait … you might be on to something here. Let’s rally the troops and nominate some radical far-left nut to pull zero’s base right out from under him. We can hijack their nominating process like a twitter hashtag.

Lost in Jersey on May 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM

I hear Tim Cahill from Massachusetts is available.

BKennedy on May 15, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Hey, indicted is not the same as convicted so why not? If elected he can pardon himself.

Richard Lugar is also available.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

The pick is clear, can’t believe AE is overlooking it. John Edwards, of course.

TXUS on May 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Just another case of intellectuals thinking they know better than us stoooopid little people.

search4truth on May 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM

stoooopid little people- anybody that is not a urban hipster living in LA, NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami or Chicago.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM

The centrists are up a tree this election. Obama is an undisguised liberal. Romney is a liberal wearing a dollar-store conservative mask. Ron Paul is finally running out of steam because he’s just too old.

Who, exactly, can they pick?

MelonCollie on May 15, 2012 at 11:40 AM

You could argue that Romney doesn’t leave an opening for a centrist third party candidate.

Although the most credible third party candidate in recent memory was Ross Perot, in an election against a moderate Republican President and a moderate Democratic Governor.

Mister Mets on May 15, 2012 at 11:41 AM

The pick is clear, can’t believe AE is overlooking it. John Edwards, of course.

TXUS on May 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

He may not be available for 30 years.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Ron Paul is finally running out of steam because he’s just too old crazy.

Fixed.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Another case of the “elites” saying how they can do things better.

GarandFan on May 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Centrist? Seems very Lefty to me.

Scopper on May 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Ron Paul is finally running out of steam because the wingnut brigade says ending the wars is crazy.

Fixed.

Happy Nomad on May 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Now it’s fixed.

MelonCollie on May 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

…I nominate Joseph ‘Biteme Barrack’ Biden!…that would be fun!

KOOLAID2 on May 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

If I can do it part time I’ll both stand for election and serve the inevitable two terms. Have we ever had a part time president before?

Mason on May 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Their candidate is obvious to all except them:
Alfred E. Neuman.

cartooner on May 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

there cannot possibly be more than 10 people ideologically between Romney and Obama. So of course it was a total failure.

astonerii on May 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Their candidate is obvious to all except them:
Alfred E. Neuman.

cartooner on May 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

The sad thing is that even HE would do a better job.

MelonCollie on May 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM

I never understood this Quixotic enterprise…even as a way to siphon off Anti-Obama votes. Has anyone seen the list of potential candidates? Either losers in their own party or unknowns? What made anyone think there a demand for Buddy Roemer or Rocky Anderson

JFKY on May 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Aw, dammit. I was looking forward to supporting Phineas T. Flubberbuster for President in their primary.

Red Cloud on May 15, 2012 at 11:51 AM

The first Rule of Holes: Once you realize you’re in one, stop digging.

Congratulations to Americans Elect.

J_Crater on May 15, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Centrist? Seems very Lefty to me.

Scopper on May 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

They are still trying their damnedest to make “Left” the new “Center,” as in “normal.”

PatriotGal2257 on May 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM

I never heard of this group, but I keep getting emails from No Labels which is a group of liberal dems and Chuck Hagel who are trying to launce a supposedly centrist candidate who will of course pull votes from Romney.When they launched they believed they could get Bloomberg to run and spend his fortune to actually win. Bloomie is an egocentric meglomaniac but he’s not stupid and he doesn’t like spending his bucks on forlorn hopes. Though if he thought he had a chance, he’d be in in a NY minute.

xkaydet65 on May 15, 2012 at 11:59 AM

pick a road cone, a mannequin, a blow up doll, a blow up sheep – who cares at this point.

mittens on May 15, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Wait … you might be on to something here. Let’s rally the troops and nominate some radical far-left nut to pull zero’s base right out from under him. We can hijack their nominating process like a twitter hashtag.

Lost in Jersey on May 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM

My tongue is only partially in cheek. I do want a far-far left candidate, who has name recognition, to run to the left of far leftist Dear Liar.

rbj on May 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM

“Politico reported that the nominating process had to be put off because they couldn’t find anyone qualified to run.” Huh? That didn’t stop the Democrats in 2008.

rjh on May 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM

They are still trying their damnedest to make “Left” the new “Center,” as in “normal.”

PatriotGal2257 on May 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM

It’s already been accomplished. The status quo is seen as ‘normal’ and it is coming to be seen as ‘acceptable’.

Therefore, everyone trying to change from the status quo to something more sustainable is – by definition – a radical.

Side note: Aren’t the lefties always saying that conservatives are the people unwilling to change? Irony…

Washington Nearsider on May 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM

How did I not know about this before? We should have all declared our candidacy through AE. It would have been awesome. The Hot Gas Primary!

dczombie on May 15, 2012 at 12:08 PM

“Politico reported that the nominating process had to be put off because they couldn’t find anyone qualified to run.” Huh? That didn’t stop the Democrats in 2008.

rjh on May 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM

That’s technically untrue.

In 2008, the only required qualification was “not George Bush.”

In that, Obama was vastly over-qualified.

Washington Nearsider on May 15, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Why don’t they nominate the guy who lost the Democrat primary in West Virgina? If he could take 41% of the votes away from Obama, why not? All he needs is a Get Out of Jail Free card from Chance!

Steve Z on May 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Have we ever had a part time president before?

Mason on May 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Yes, now.

OldEnglish on May 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Americans Elect Lawn Gnome for President!

Steve Z on May 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM

My tongue is only partially in cheek. I do want a far-far left candidate, who has name recognition, to run to the left of far leftist Dear Liar.

rbj on May 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM

How about San Fran Nan?

NapaConservative on May 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Harold Stassen might be available.

trigon on May 15, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Side note: Aren’t the lefties always saying that conservatives are the people unwilling to change? Irony…

Washington Nearsider on May 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM

LOL, yeah. According to them — the Lefties — we’re also the most intolerant group of people ever. In all of history!/

Baby boomer Lefties surely had to sit through an English Literature class during their school years, back when schools thought it acceptable to teach, but must have been busy passing notes or drawing cartoons in the margins of their textbooks when “irony” was discussed.

PatriotGal2257 on May 15, 2012 at 12:35 PM

My tongue is only partially in cheek. I do want a far-far left candidate, who has name recognition, to run to the left of far leftist Dear Liar.

rbj on May 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Exactly. That was my point. The far left moonbats are upset with their king of fools because he dropped single-payer, didn’t close gitmo, signed the extension of the current tax rates Bush tax-cuts tax-cuts and so on. At this point they would vote for a true communist over this guy and eradicate his chances at more flexibility a second term.

How about San Fran Nan?

NapaConservative on May 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM

A good possibility. She’d be just vain enough to accept the nomination if the opportunity presented itself. She can pick Bernie Sanders or Van Jones as her running mate.

Lost in Jersey on May 15, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Americans Elect, the deep-pocketed nonprofit group that set out to nominate a centrist third-party presidential ticket, split the anybody but Obama vote
FIFY.

rbj on May 15, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Besides, Gary Johnson and (most likely) Ron Paul are already on the job.

MidniteRambler on May 15, 2012 at 1:17 PM

It’s not often I’ll approvingly quote a “progressive” historian like Richard Hofstadter, but I’ll do it here:

“Third parties are like [honey] bees: once they have stung, they die.”

That is, in the US electoral system the deck is stacked against third parties. The best they can reasonably hope to do, a la Ralph Nader and Ross Perot, is not only hurt one of the two major parties, but teach it some sort of lesson in the process.

As for the honey bee named Citizens Elect, whose real purpose was to split the ABO vote, it never even got out of the hive.

MidniteRambler on May 15, 2012 at 1:23 PM

How’s about Lindsey Graham?
I’m figuring with these centrist panty wringers, it’s would help to pick a sex and stick with it.

AllahsNippleHair on May 15, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I nominate Richard Lugar so that we can humiliate him again.

teri_b on May 15, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Centrist? Seems very Lefty to me.

Scopper on May 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

.
They are still trying their damnedest to make “Left” the new “Center,” as in “normal.”

PatriotGal2257 on May 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM

.
Just another classic tug-of-war on the “Overton Window”.

listens2glenn on May 15, 2012 at 3:09 PM

There’s a 1/32 Cherokee woman in Massachusetts who will jump at the job opportunity.

Don L on May 15, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Save us Pat Paulson, you’re our only hope!
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VTHge8q0zwY

TBinSTL on May 15, 2012 at 8:13 PM

This would only syphon Republican votes as those who vote Democrat are conformists. That is the purpose.

John Kettlewell on May 15, 2012 at 9:28 PM