If Americans had cared, it might have worked. At least it could have possibly put a new and meaningful dent into America’s broken political system. It might have been able to pave the way for a much needed reform. But the noble attempt at the first nonpartisian presidential nomination through what would have been the United States first online primary was discontinued this week due to insufficient support.
As of Tuesday, Kahlil Byrd, the chief executive of Americans Elect told the Associated Press that,
No candidate has reached the national support threshold required
to enter the online convention.
The purpose behind AmericansElect.org was to put the country before party with hopes of nominating a presidential ticket that answered directly to voters and not the political system. The website states,
American voters are tired of politics as usual. They want leaders that will put their country before their party, and American interests before special interests. Leaders who will work together to develop fresh solutions to the serious challenges facing our country. We believe a secure, online nominating process will prove that America is ready for a competitive, nonpartisan ticket.
With no funding from special interests or lobbyists, nor any ties to political groups, candidates or ideologies, the organizers behind Americans Elect believed that the voices of the people mattered and that they were the ones who should decide the issues and choose candidates. They had hoped that by using the Internet, people could break the Washington gridlock and open the political process giving all voters, regardless of party, the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012 by putting the Americans Elect ticket on the ballot of every U.S. state.
The secure online convention, which would have verified the status of every voters registration, was scheduled for June. According to the organization, every vote was to be counted “fairly and accurately” with a printable confirmation and an independent, publicly-identified panel of election experts monitoring the process as well as “reporting publicly on its transparency and security.”
Believing that America was ready for a competitive, nonpartisan ticket, the intention of the online primary was to take the government back from the special interests. The idea was to help create a way for leaders to creatively work alongside each other in order to develop fresh ideas and solutions addressing America’s serious challenges. But in a country where less than half of the people actually vote, the revolutionary idea of Americans Elect failed. At least this time around.
With most American voters not having a real say when it comes to who gets the nominations, Americans Elect was an alternative to what the website called the “dysfunctional party process.” Instead, the site offered to amplify the voice of voters, no matter what party or where they happened to live.
However, America was not ready for such a new idea and was unable to garner the minimum of 10,000 votes need to field a candidate. Tech Crunch reported that,
…the Internet has never quite captured the emotional gravity of real-life engagement..
In fact, could technology actually be to blame for democracy’s apathy? Americans have expressed their frustration with ‘politics as usual’ and those among the current generation that are concerned, aware and informed would be better than anyone else at determining these next crucial steps.
Byrd also said that there’s,
an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process.
We can only hope that the people behind Americans Elect haven’t given up hope.