2012 presidential prediction? Will the Libertarian or Americans Elect candidate

finish third (behind the two major parties)?

I believe both are on all 50 state ballots. Americans Elect is making a big push. Of course we don’t know either parties candidate yet. That is what makes it interesting.

Americans Elect is on the ballot in 25 states - they are pushing for 50. That is their chief asset.

They are pushing centrism. The Republicans aren’t in the mood for that. So they will tend to draw support from Obama, who is a conciliator by instinct.

I would say that few Americans have registered with them, considering their budget. Once you register with them, you can pick 1 draft candidate and any number of declared candidates. Here are the draft candidate totals:

Ron Paul 8113
Jon Huntsman 3024
Bernie Sanders 2162
Barack Obama 1653
Mike Bloomberg 1239
Gary Johnson 941
Stephen Colbert 726
Jon Stewart 494

Ok, that’s over 18,000 registered people. Call it 20,000. Now look at the support for declared candidates. Remember registrants can choose more than one of these:

Buddy Roemer - Former Governor, ran in GOP2012 in Iowa: 3655
Rocky Anderson - Former Mayor 2080
Laurence Kotlikoff - Economist 1326
MIchaelene Risley, Activist 1284
TJ OHara - Inspirational Speaker, CEO 362
Mike Ballantine - Other 263
Blake Ashby - Other 157

One of them is pseudo-plausible. Total votes are less than 10,000. None of them are libertarians or social issues types. For that you need to go further down on the list of nobodies to Merlin Miller (116 supporters) or Scott Keller (47 supporters).
Nobody will be drafted by an organization with such generous funding but thin popular support. Buddy Roemer will be nominated, as you need to be a declared candidate to run with them. Last fall his polling never breeched 1%, so he wasn’t even able to enter into a debate with the other GOP contestants. So I think it’s safe to say that he would on balance suck support from Obama. Americans Elect is a spoiler organization: they will play the role that Ralph Nader did in 2000.
Then again, Ron Paul has shown that Libertarianism has solid support in the GOP. If they are serious about pushing their ideas into the national conversation, they might want to give Scott Keller a boost. It doesn’t look good to attract only 47 supporters.

If you sign up with them, they check your voter registration details. Then you get to be a so-called “Delegate”.

Ed Kilgore opines: You have to wonder: at what point do AE’s backers admit they’ve created a rich opportunity for its ballot lines to be hijacked by someone with less than pure motives for pursuing them, or who cares not a fig for AE’s “centrist” principles or its lofty commitment to ground-up democratic empowerment? Yes, they have safeguards to avoid the wrong kind of nominee, but if exercised, they will only make a mockery of the whole enterprise, and represent a vast bait-and-switch whereby a shadowy group of elites chooses someone who could have a perverse effect on the outcome of a close presidential election.

I hope one of their “safeguards” involves the option of calling the whole thing off. Frankly, I’ve found the whole enterprise shadowy to begin with. GQ: Post Citizens United, it’s difficult to tell who if funding them. GQ from last year: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=604081

Are the Greens running any candidate because in recent elections its usually the Green who got third (well in 2004 and 2008 Nader ran as an independent).

So if Gary Johnson is the nominee for both parties, does he get to pool his votes?

Re: the OP. From wikipedia, the Libertarians will hold their convention on May 4-6 in Nevada. Candidates include RJ Harris, Gary Johnson, Carl Person, Sam Sloan, Bill Still, R. Lee Wrights.

I think there’s a viable path for Gary Johnson to be nominated by both parties. The libertarian party claims to have over 100,000 members. If they can’t get 10,000 of them to register at Americans Elect, then they are more of an extremist fringe organization than I thought. But Mr. Johnson has not declared his candidacy at Americans Elect, which means he’s currently ineligible for nomination.
On preview: That’s a good question, Simplicio.

ETA: One catch is that Americans Elect requires you to choose a running mate from an opposing party. Johnson/Colmes 2012?

Last I saw the Greens were likely to nominate Jill Stein, who ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2006. Rosanne Barr is also trying for the nomination, but only had about half of Stein’s support. They were hoping to be on the ballot in 48 states, but hadn’t gotten anywhere near there yet.

Informative April 16 WAPO article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/americans-elect-searches-for-a-way-to-ignite-third-party-fever/2012/04/16/gIQA2mrbMT_story.html Last week was supposed to be the first week of online voting on the Americans Elect site, when anyone anywhere could click to endorse practiced politicians or to draft neophytes. But the candidate choices have remained decidedly low-profile, and traffic is meager on the site, which cost $9 million to construct. Scrambling to avert failure, Americans Elect has postponed online voting for a month. Former junk bond engineer Peter Ackerman started the organization. He refused to be interviewed for the WAPO article. It’s a nonprofit, so the donor list doesn’t have to be disclosed.

ETA: Is their electoral process subject to independent audit?

Has Colbert gloated over beating Stewart yet? Seems like his kinda bit.

Well, it seems as if A-E does not recruit Huntsman, Bloomberg, or Ron Paul they won’t meet the 5% minimum to get into the debates.

As an Obama supporter I want them to find a center-right candidate.

Its looking like another failed 3rd party.

I was wondering this as well. The whole thing seems kinda skeevy. Not that I think they’re trying to help one established party or the other, but they seem to have an idea of the type of candidate they want to win their nomination, and I wonder how far they’d bend things to make sure that type of person wins.

In anycase, kind of a silly project IMHO, so I’m not really sad or surprised to see it not doing well.

Of those, I think only Bloomberg might actually accept the nomination. Which is another problem for the project, the people leading their nomination process are largely people that wouldn’t accept even if it was offered. They’re going to look pretty bad when the first four or five leaders turn them down.

Think harder. Think further.

Oh? The lead backer was an associate of ex-con Michael Milken.

They say they want a centrist candidate to end partisan wrangling, in a political environment where only 1 of the two parties has explicitly disavowed bipartisanship. Look at the statements by Rush Limbaugh and moreover Mitch McConnell: There was the time, shortly before the midterm election, that he said that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” There was the time he told the Atlantic’s Josh Green that “We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals, because we thought – correctly, I think – that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan."

If these were mere missteps, McConnell’s communications staff would’ve scolded him and told him to be more careful with the press. But they’re not. On Tuesday, McConnell sat down with Politico’s Mike Allen for a free-ranging discussion on politics. Here’s what he said:

MCCONNELL: If the president is willing to do what I and my members would do anyway, we’re not going to say no and –

ALLEN: But that’s not much of a concession. That’s not bargaining, to just give you what you want.

MCCONNELL: Um, I like to think I’m a pretty good negotiator.   And for direct evidence, [look at the time path of cloture votes](http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/04/pushback-on-false-equivalence-and-the-filibuster/255634/).  

It would be one thing to call for less partisan wrangling if both sides were truly doing it. But they are not: the Dems met with the Gang of Six (Six! Only six Republican Senators willing to discuss compromise) for months before the Republicans snatched the football away like Lucy for the umpteenth time. The supposed centrism of Americans Elect is horseshit. That they are funded to the tune of millions is cause for reasonable suspicion. Patriotic Americans will respond accordingly.
That said, they represent a pretty good opportunity for third parties ready to take things to the next level. No libertarian will win the Presidency in 2012, but they might be able to secure greater voice in the process.

They’ve thought of that. Only Designated candidates are eligible to be nominated. So Ron Paul will only be nominated if he declares himself a candidate. The Draft column would only be relevant if it tallied in the millions or in the tens of thousands if a mailing list candidate like Gingrich was involved. So it looks like it will be Buddy Roemer, unless a groundswell of support appears from somewhere. Which it might. I hope so.

The Libertarian will beat the AE, since the Libertarian party has a platform, and AE does not. “We’re not any of the people who aren’t us!” doesn’t constitute a platform.

I think the impulses that lead to things like America Elects are best described in this great essay by Peter Frase:

It’s a shady cabal of the ultra-rich trying to convince the rest of us that horrible “partisanship” is the reason none of our politicians have the courage to slash Social Security and Medicare and other programs that don’t benefit them.

wring has part of the story. There are other factors at work as well. The constitution wasn’t designed around parties: it was based on consultations among various parties acting in good faith. But that train has left the station and tea partiers believe that compromise is evil. Of course that’s nonsense: you can have strong principles, but still believe in political compromise: it’s part of -you know- sharing a country with other people.

Political scientists like political parties: they provide a signaling mechanism to voters. Beltway journalists prefer bi-partisanship, as it gives them something to write about. Their heyday was in the 1950s-60s when you could have liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats that required explanation.

Now there’s nothing wrong with being a centrist: some people will find themselves in between 2 political positions after all. But centrism for the sake of centrism is inane. If one party has gone crazy and you are not crazy, it makes sense to call them out. I imagine I would have not been especially fond of the no-nothings in the mid 1800s or certain populists in the late 1800s. And some of exuberance of the left in the early 1970s was ridiculous. So it’s not that progressives can’t go crazy. It’s just that most of them are not that way now, unlike the Washington Republican party. In fact, I would say that in the mid 1970s, the liberal side had the greater proportion of nutters. But times change.

It’s happened before that a candidate has run on more than one party’s ticket. William Jennings Bryan, for example, ran as both the Democratic and the Populist Presidential candidate in 1896. Voters in some states had a choice of casting their vote for Bryan the Democrat or Bryan the Populist and I don’t think his votes were combined.

Can’t do that any more, though.

What if you think something both parties are complicit in is insane?

Just one thing? I don’t know what you’re referring to, but politics is the art of the possible. I expect both parties to have their crazies. But I prefer it if the adults at least are in charge. That was the case in both parties prior to 1993, even if the Republicans appointed an early stage Alzheimer’s candidate for the Presidency.

Today in Washington, half of the Republicans in Congress are crazy and the other half are afraid of being primaried by crazies.

That’s pretty close to the truth: Forbes unpacks the organization charts. It’s a Pete Peterson operation.

Pete Peterson is a throw-back to the days when the Republicans actually had true deficit hawks. Over time, Republican plans for deficit reduction evolved from bluster (“It’s the Democrats fault!”) to implausible (see the Ryan plan). But Pete’s one of those self-styled centrists who, however informed, can’t bring himself to side with the single party with a serious long term deficit cutting plan. So he’s plonking for a third party.

It’s a little pathetic. Long term deficit reduction begins and ends with health care reform. Although the Affordable Choice Act was a terrific start -and actually cut the long-term deficit- there’s further work to do. A responsible person would reward those who pass policies that they say they prefer regardless of party. But siding with the Democrats is I guess a bridge too far.

Anyway, if Peterson’s crew -who spend way more time on this issue than the average Republican- can’t move to the Democratic Party, I doubt whether your typical Republican will be able to move to his centrist alternative. So they probably won’t play a constructive role.
If the US had a multi-party system, maybe some of this inane tribalism would go away. One could hope. But Pete won’t try to advance proportional representation either.
On the substance, watch for the following rhetorical trick. They will say that we need to get “Entitlements” or “Social-security-and-medicare” under control. They are correct, insofar as we need a long term spending plan for “Social-security-and-medicare-and-paper-clips”. But really, socially security is straightforward problem. There’s a 25% projected budget gap. Even if it was handled suddenly, it doesn’t mean SS would disappear: it means you have to raise taxes or lower benefits to cover that amount. It would be better if we reformed it a decade ago of course, but this isn’t an insurmountable problem. It’s healthcare which has the awful numbers.
Oh yeah. The lesser depression. Textbook economics calls for short term deficits when conventional monetary policy is maxed out. So once again this self-styled representative of the Great and the Good fails to promote sensible policies. Instead he rides his 30 year old hobby horse. Thanks Pete!

I think you’re giving Peterson too much credit. I’ll go with Dean Baker of CEPR, who says:

Incidentally, Dean Baker’s blog at CEPR, Beat the Press, is absolutely indispensable for catching the mainstream media in tricks like the “we have to reform Social Security because Social-Security-and-Medicare is bankrupting us” one that you mentioned. Here he is catching Peterson pulling it in a WaPo editorial.

Today was the official start of the Americans Elect caucus. It got cancelled. No official candidate had reached the required threshold which was 1000 votes from each of 10 states. In fact, no official candidate cleared 10,000 votes overall - Buddy Roemer only gathered 6134 supporters. Among draft candidates Ron Paul was numero uno with 9415 supporters. Of those who registered at the website, 95% declined to back a candidate.

So What Does It All Mean? Paul Krugman: What went wrong? Well, there actually is a large constituency in America for a political leader who is willing to take responsible positions — to call for more investment in the nation’s education and infrastructure, to propose bringing down the long-run deficit through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. And there is in fact a political leader ready and willing (maybe too willing) to play that role; his name is Barack Obama.

So why Americans Elect? Because there exists in America a small class of professional centrists, whose stock in trade is denouncing the extremists in both parties and calling for a middle ground. And this class cannot, as a professional matter, admit that there already is a centrist party in America, the Democrats — that the extremism they decry is all coming from one side of the political fence. Because if they admitted that, they’d just be moderate Democrats, with no holier-than-thou pedestal to stand on. Buzzfeed has an hilarious compilation of breathless predictions, headed up by Wanker in Chief Tom Friedman: Write it down: Americans Elect. What Amazon.com did to books, what the blogosphere did to newspapers, what the iPod did to music, what drugstore.com did to pharmacies, Americans Elect plans to do to the two-party duopoly that has dominated American political life — remove the barriers to real competition, flatten the incumbents and let the people in. Watch out. We’re watching, Tom. These bozos spent $25 million on their project and scored maybe 20,000 clicks. That averages to $1250 per mouse squeeze. Synergy!