Americans Elect: Obama's Third-Party Tar PitBy Jared E. Peterson
Anyone with the remotest interest in replacing Barack Obama as America's president in 2012 should take his eyes off Iowa and the boring ups and downs of the race for the Republican nomination.
The real action that may well decide our next president is quietly going on elsewhere, in the state offices that qualify candidates and parties for the November 2012 presidential ballot. You may not have heard much about a shadowy group called "Americans Elect" (it does not disclose its contributors because of alleged concerns that they might suffer loss of business or social contacts, and because it fancifully but only occasionally declares itself to be a 501[c]  tax-exempt organization [though it has qualified as a political party for ballot position in multiple states including Ohio, California, Nevada, and Arizona, which should deprive it of tax-exempt status]). But if you haven't heard of Americans Elect, you soon will.
Given the organization's original moneybags founder and current "chairman," Peter Ackerman (mega-rich Wall Street 2008 Obama supporter), its stated goals, and the nature of American politics, it bids fair to decide who will prevail for the presidency in 2012.
Americans Elect is presently a tax-exempt organization (or a political party, at least in the states where it has qualified for the ballot -- one can't be sure which) with the stated goal of promoting a centrist third-party presidential candidate, to be selected from a nomination process that at least in part winnows candidates through internet voting. It plans to gain access to the ballot in all 50 states, and it has already qualified in multiple states (see above for partial list).
At present, the organization has raised $22M (the first $5M from Wall Street heavy Peter Ackerman, about whom more later), and it is aiming for $35M, the sum its string-pullers believe will be needed to get its candidate on all 50 state ballots.
For a fawning, shallow, and utterly predictable MSM description of the organization and its goals, which takes at face value everything Americans Elect says about itself, check out CNN's 12/29/2011 article.
For an even scarier MSM direct promotion of a group virtually destined to save the nation, see this interview by MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan, presenting Americans Elect's Chief Executive Officer Kahlil Byrd (former "communications director" to Massachusetts' left-wing Democrat Governor Deval Patrick).
Interestingly, no candidate has announced his/her intention to seek the Americans Elect nomination, and no political movement is clamoring for such a party. Thus, this so-called third party is a response neither to a specific candidate's presidential aspirations (there is no such candidate) nor to a spontaneous programmatic movement seeking a candidate (again, no such movement exists).
Americans Elect is a political party (but only when seeking ballot qualification; it calls itself a tax exempt 501[c]  organization when keeping prying eyes away from its donor list), but a party with no public program, platform, or publicly stated philosophy, and no public donor list -- all of which might help interested parties evaluate it -- nor does it have a candidate or candidates, or even public criteria for selecting candidates.
Its public statements (See Byrd's pronouncements above) suggest that some sort of new-age internet vote-off will determine its presidential candidate, but the organization's bylaws strongly suggest that the Americans Elect board will make the final candidate choice, and that the internet voting prelude is a sham to draw in the unsophisticated.
In short, Americans Elect is like the Republicans and Democrats, but without their scrupulous honesty, openness, and transparency. What's not to like?
This "party" is in fact the reverse of a candidate or a movement -- it is an empty political vehicle formed for a candidate yet to be identified who will agree with the party's program to be determined later. Sound fishy yet?
If I were really paranoid, I would suspect that Americans Elect was a joint creation of the Democratic and Republican Party central commands to make their parties look good by contrast.
Alas, were it only so.
After qualifying for the ballot in all 50 states, Americans Elect will seek a candidate who will be tasked with grabbing a large portion of the independent, unaffiliated American middle and soft center-right, thereby tossing an otherwise lost cause to Obama. It is that simple. For at least the last century, third-party candidates in American presidential politics have always hurt the right more than the left, because a larger percentage of the left's voters are joined at the hip with titanium screws to the Democratic Party.
Obama's fingerprints, or those of his surrogates, will be hard to find on Americans Elect (other than 2008 Obama man Peter Ackerman's seed money of $5M, a birthmark Americans Elect will find hard to blot out). Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina and über-guru David Axelrod have both gone so far as to criticize Americans Elect. Smart cointelpro move by the shrewd Obama pols.
In the privacy of their dens the two are rubbing their hands together in glee at the prospect of Americans Elect.
The consequence of an Americans Elect candidate on the ballot in 50 states, if that candidate gains serious traction (and the MSM will do all it can to help), is so obvious that it has to have been planned. Time and again, the organization's target segment of the voting public has been revealed as the least sophisticated and most easily subject to manipulation of any identifiable electoral cohort, as well as the electoral component most irritated by intense political argument and endlessly in search of a bipartisan candidate or group that will just talk nice.
In short, Americans Elect's candidate, depending on who he is, could have particular appeal to the informationally challenged and easily confused middle in 2012.
To return to and amplify a bit on a point previously made: the Americans Elect plan is premised on the simple fact that the core Democratic Party vote, whether ideologically hard left or bought and paid for by government programs and salaries, is larger than the core Republican/conservative vote and more tightly tethered to its party. That core vote is around 41%-43%, and generally speaking, whether attached to the Democratic Party by ideological fervor or perceived self-interest, it would dependably vote for Attila on meth if he had the Democratic presidential line. The core Republican/conservative vote, animated principally by a desire to be left alone by government, is probably no more than 36%-38%, and even that smaller core is slightly more vulnerable to slight attrition than the Democrats' core.
Then there is the unattached middle, ever searching cluelessly for peace in the national household and an end to the partisan wrangling -- probably a good 25% of the electorate, and possibly more in 2012. It is always the natural hunting ground for third-party "centrist" would-be healers, phony or real.
Thus the overarching plan: remove the independent center from the election by luring a large share of its voters into the meaningless wasteland of Americans Elect, and the Euro-socialist now sitting in Lincoln's chair wins, possibly with the lowest percentage of the vote since Woodrow Wilson.
In the last hundred years, we have seen more honest versions of this play at least twice, and both times it worked like a charm for the Democrat candidate. In 1992 Bill Clinton won the presidency with the bare Democrat Party core (43%), while weird little spoiler Ross Perot carved off 20% of the muddled middle, drawn overwhelmingly from potential Bush voters, leaving Papa Bush with 38%, scratching his head and looking for a job.
In the presidential election of 1912 -- which for most modern American voters might as well have occurred in the early Pleistocene --Democrat Woodrow Wilson soared to victory with 42% of the vote in the midst of an overwhelmingly Republican era, defeating sitting Republican President William Howard Taft, who got a mere 23% of the popular vote, while 27% went to spoiler Theodore Roosevelt.
The lesson of the last five score years of American history is clear: in America, third-party presidential candidates never win, but occasionally they tilt the outcome to the Democrat. They absolutely did in 1912; they almost certainly did in 1992 (though Clinton groupies will vainly argue the contrary).
But today's Americans Elect is something much more sinister than the three-way electoral dramas of 1912 and 1992. In both 1992 and 1912, the third-party candidacy arose because of a genuine explosion of personal ego by a wealthy nonentity (Perot) or because of a deluded belief in the possibility of victory by a genuine national figure (Theodore Roosevelt). At minimum, neither of these earlier third-party candidacies was a mischief-making cointelpro, ginned up by supporters of the winning Democrat for the purpose of siphoning off the middle.
Certainly Theodore Roosevelt, an enormously popular former president who genuinely disagreed with the policies of Taft, his successor, believed that he could win. Ross Perot was merely the Donald Trump of his time -- shorn of the silly hair, sexy wives, and circus atmosphere, but possessed of a similar bank account and even larger ego. Though Perot's candidacy was immensely beneficial to Clinton, there is no hard evidence that Clinton's supporters manipulated the whacky Texas billionaire into delivering the presidency to the Democrats.
All is different with Americans Elect. From their founder and leader ye shall know them.
Though Americans Elect is succeeding at the moment in concealing the identities of its donors, its seed money man and chairman (whatever that scary title means in the context of an American political party) is known: Peter Ackerman kicked off the group with a $5,000,000 contribution. Ackerman (b. 1946) was a key Wall Street sidekick to 1980s junk bond king and nearly two-year compulsory guest of the federal government Michael Milkin. Ackerman's wealth is not known to the dime, but the number surely runs to nine figures, maybe ten. And, most importantly for figuring out what Americans Elect is all about, Ackerman was an Obama supporter in 2008.
Google searches have turned up no press conferences or articles in which Ackerman explains in detail what Obama did during the last three years to impel Ackerman to desert the Great One and seek a replacement willy-nilly in a potluck internet-based nomination process, a manner of presidential selection that would appear to be an unseemly procedural choice for a person of Ackerman's presumably prodigious intellect.
Whatever could have motivated Ackerman to kick off Americans Elect with a $5,000,000 chump-change contribution? Most sophisticated political analysts will not have a lot of trouble with that question.
Real third parties arise naturally, in response to obvious popular movements and demand within the electorate. Real third-party candidacies arise when a specific personality with the requisite ego, purse, and grandiose self-delusion appears. As of year's end, 2011, neither is in evidence. Yet the Americans Elect Party has shown up -- all vehicle, no passengers. Something is wrong with this picture.
What is wrong is that this is the telltale incorrect sequence of events for a genuine, non-manipulative third party. This fact, in and of itself, should tell anyone with half a political brain that something other than what appears on the surface is going on. Combine this with the fact that the Party was seed-moneyed by a 2008 Obama supporter, and there's not much more to talk about.
The whole plan fits marvelously well with Obama's apparent decision to run a hard-left, populist, eat-the-rich campaign. Such a campaign surely is not designed to recapture a substantial share of the independent center, but it will -- so goes the plan -- goose the turnout of the perfervid left. Given Obama's apparent strategy of surrendering much of the independent middle and counting on a big showing by the core, it makes eminent sense to lure a large portion of the electoral middle into irrelevancy.
And thereby to win. About 42 to 40 to 18.
As to the middle, if you can't win 'em, lure 'em into a swamp and let 'em drown in irrelevancy.
Some will think all this a bit conspiratorial. And so it is. So, often, is political reality.
When a very well-moneyed and well-organized, but very secretly funded, third party suddenly appears out of the blue, before any candidate or movement is asking for its appearance, only the foolish would fail to ask what the hell's going on.
The best chance of terminally discrediting the Americans Elect scheme is early discovery and disclosure of the inevitable Obama operatives' fingerprints all over it. Such a cynical attempt to manipulate the American democratic process by a sitting president, were it to be conclusively shown, could be the last blow to a sinking presidency. The fingerprints are still there, no doubt, but even now they are being feverishly erased.
One hopes that increasingly likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney (whose Republican candidacy, it must be said, would be a good fit against the Americans Elect threat) is more of a street-fighter than his polite and reasonable demeanor suggests. And that his troops long ago noticed Americans Elect, and are well-prepared to deal with this Machiavellian fraud. If not, 2012 is going to be a long and painful year.
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