I heard Glenn Beck muse the other day about why President Obama is not worried about the election. Why is he so confident when the polls indicate he may lose? I have a thought on that subject: he is confident because it is likely that there is going to be a third candidate in the race that will take votes from the Republican candidate. Those wanting to defeat Obama need to develop a strategy to counter this likelihood.
The third candidate will come from an organization called Americans Elect. They claim on their website that they are going to give Americans a third choice for president by nominating someone using the internet to register votes directly from the public. That someone will then be on the ballot in all 50 states. The organization is well funded and operational and currently has about half the number of supporters necessary to achieve the 50 state goal. It is a 501(c)4 organization, meaning donors don’t have to be disclosed,that was started by Peter Ackerman with $1.55 million. There are billionaires publicly supporting this venture so it will not want for financing.
Peter Ackerman is involved in many things, as any Google search will disclose, but to me the most relevant involvement is in a movement to encourage revolutions by the youth of a country to overthrow dictatorial governments by nonviolent civil disobedience. He produced a documentary called “Bringing Down a Dictator” detailing the defeat of Serbian Dictator Slobodan Milosevic in October, 2000, not by force of arms but by a nonviolent strategy of massive civil disobedience. This documentary has reportedly been used as a guide throughout the Middle East during the Arab Spring and perhaps by the Occupy Wall Street crowd. He is against US military involvement believing dictators in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea could be or could have been removed through nonviolent revolutions by the young as in Serbia. He is in favor of and is developing technology that will link the young together so that they can more efficiently organize. Americans Elect can certainly do that.
What is the motive of such a person to want to disrupt the presidential election process in our country? He can’t seriously believe his candidate is going to win the election but he does know that by the choice of a third candidate either the Democrat or Republican will be certain to lose since in our almost equally divided electorate taking only 5% from either side will usually guarantee a win for the other. Maybe he doesn’t care who wins he just wants to disrupt the process and our country. One scenario could go like this: the young will vote for the Americans Elect candidate and when he loses the young will feel disenfranchised and increase civil disobedience to force change to our system. A quote from a recent speech he gave describing his motive for establishing Americans Elect seems to support this scenario, “What I think will happen again, just like in civil resistance, we’ll have a new force that will come to play in a system that is struggling and that is giving so little satisfaction to the American people.”
But for our purposes today we should be concerned about which party is likely to lose because of the Americans Elect candidate. Peter Ackerman certainly does not sound like a typical Republican to me and his reported political contributions although mostly to Democrats were small in value but it would be hard to claim that he is a stooge for Obama from what I know so far. According to their home page the purpose of Americans Elect is to let the people chose presidential candidates that will put the country before the party. But it is questionable whether the people by their on-line votes will actually choose the candidate. It is in their bylaws that a committee actually must approve of the candidates to make sure they are qualified to be president. Doesn’t that eliminate almost everybody thus giving this committee a powerful say in who becomes the candidate? So it is of some concern that Americans Elect has just published a press release touting the qualifications of one David Walker who just joined their team. It is against their written policy to endorse potential candidates but No Labels, an affiliated organization, is endorsing him and Tom Friedman of the NYT also endorses his potential candidacy. Tom Friedman according to irregulartimes has published inside-access promotions of Americans Elect in the past. The first paragraph in Wikipedia’s article on David M. Walker states he has been promoted as a potential candidate for President, through Americans Elect and he came in second behind only Hillary in Politico’s readers choice for president contest. Irregulartimes has been following Americans Elect for some time and is the source for some of the material in this blog.
So who is David Walker and what is No Labels? No Labels claims to be an organization of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents that want our government to work again. It was founded in December 2010 by David Walker and several others so it not surprising they are endorsing him for president. No Labels appears to be an organization actually concerned about the condition of our country and wants to do something to correct the problems. As mentioned the motive of Americans Elect is not so clear. Perhaps time or some reader of this post will reveal facts suggesting their motive is actually to re-elect President Obama but until then they should be considered legitimate but misguided. One fact of concern however, is that they were both formed shortly after the Tea Party and Republican successes in the last election.
David Walker is not a liberal pretending to be a conservative, he actually seems to be a true fiscal conservative, and that is the problem. As a third presidential candidate his fiscal conservative platform will in many ways mimic the Republican platform and will certainly siphon off many would be Republican votes. I believe there are many people who will not vote for Obama next time that are planning to hold their nose and vote Republican for economic reasons. This particular third candidate will give them a similar choice without the Republican label and they may well take it even if doing so re-elects the man they couldn’t vote for.
Perhaps I am wrong and Americans Elect will not pick a fiscal conservative. Who then, a progressive or socialist? Why, we already have one in the White House. It only makes sense for them to have a candidate that is very different from Obama since running an Obama-like candidate would be a total waste of effort and would be laughable. If they are really fiscal conservatives or just pretending to be then they must run a candidate with those credentials. No, their candidate will not take many votes from those supporting Obama.
I am afraid I have to say it, if Americans Elect executes the plan outlined above it is likely they will actually elect Obama for a second term and that is why he is not worried and why we need to develop a strategy to counter this likelihood. Any ideas?