Americans Elect – the innovative effort to jolt the political system with a third-party presidential candidate – is facing a democratic uprising of its own. A hastily organized contingent of Americans Elect activists is agitating to reverse the group’s decision last week to pull the plug on its nomination process after failing to generate sufficient interest in its candidates. Complaining that the group’s leadership hasn’t listened to the membership, the insurgents are pushing for Americans Elect to forge ahead. They don’t want the $35 million the group raised to get on the ballot in 29 states, including California, to go to waste. Involved in the effort is a Bay Area activist and filmmaker who ran for the Americans Elect nomination and came in third place, after former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. Michealene Risley, a resident of Woodside in San Mateo County, said she was shocked when she heard – via press release – that Americans Elect was shutting down the nomination process. “People feel really used and manipulated,” said Risley, who ran on a platform of campaign finance reform.
“Without a viable candidate added to the national stage in this election, the brand name of AE will be tarnished,” Risley wrote to the group’s board. “Instead of being the prototype for high tech democracy, it will be stigmatized as the latest example of third party failure.”
Americans Elect had bulldozed through the tremendous hurdles alternative parties face in getting on ballots, gathering more than a million signatures to become the first new official party in California since 1995. But in its announcement last week, Americans Elect explained that its rules mandated an end to the process because no candidate achieved the “national support threshold” necessary to enter its online convention in June.