American’s Elect

One of my degrees in college was Political Science. I’ve forgotten 90% of what I learned and probably distorted the remaining 10%. Despite that, I think I got enough of a background to be able to separate at least a reasonable portion of the BS. And this next topic, I’m not yet sure what my opinion is.

I recently heard about a group called American’s Elect.┬áThis group isn’t so much a political party, but rather a different way of nominating a presidential candidate. The idea seems to be to hold an internet convention to select a candidate that is not beholden to any political party. The primary focus is on selecting someone who is willing to work with everyone. They have a reasonable sounding plan to get that candidate on the ballot in every state and an interesting selection process to find this candidate.

My initial, cynical, response is that this is just a fringe group like the tea-party. Trying to circumvent the status quo. Something like this would appeal to younger, more liberal leaning Americans. The result, if there is any, will be to take support away from Obama and give the Republican nominee a real chance at winning. That’s a scary thought, because aside from Romney who is just a typical politician, all of the current Republican candidates scare me. They are a mix of crazy, stupid, ignorant and intolerance.

This initial impression is tempered by a touch of optimism. A third party candidate could have a positive impact just by being there. I’ve never been a fan of a pure two-party system; issues aren’t black or white but they are always portrayed that way when there are only two sides. Of course, lots of parties has it’s own share of problems but we go there for now. Having a third candidate would help keep the debates from going to the extremes.

Another potential positive of something like this, it would actually be ideal if Obama were to run as the candidate for this system and ditch the democrats. He’s more independent and center than democrats. Then the democrats could run someone who was a real counter balance to the extremism of the Republicans. That would allow Obama to play the role he’s best at; negotiator, compromiser, balancing figure. He tries to do that now but is hampered by being a democrat.

What we really need is something like this for Congressional elections. Congress is where the problem is. We already have someone willing to compromise in the White House. Maybe a better candidate could be generated with this but the problem really is Congress. If third party candidates could be generated for each Congressional district, people that weren’t beholden to a political party but rather to a goal of working with others to make the best possible decisions (instead of holding to dogmatic views) that would solve our current problem.

I don’t know where this group will go or what impact (if any) it will have on the next election. I’ll keep my eye on it, out of┬ácuriosity if nothing else. But it does remind me of a Jon Stewart quote from several years ago:

“From the streets, the eerie chant of the moderates could be heard; be reasonable.”

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