I was overly optimistic and enthusiastic as I perused a post about a novel third party throwing down the gauntlet for the next US presidential election. The party would be driven by internet based delegates and candidates. The entire structure at first appeared as the ideal flat organization removing any barriers or biases from the electoral process.
“Our goal is to open up what has been an anticompetitive process to people in the middle who are unsatisfied with the choices of the two parties,” said Kahlil Byrd, the C.E.O. of Americans Elect, speaking from its swank offices, financed with some serious hedge-fund money, a stone’s throw from the White House.
As the group explains on its Web site, www.americanselect.org: “Americans Elect is the first-ever open nominating process. We’re using the Internet to give every single voter — Democrat, Republican or independent — the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. The people will choose the issues. The people will choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, the people will make history by putting their choice on the ballot in every state.”
I should have suspected the political disruption would be more hand waving, and less action based on the "swank offices" and hedge fund backing. Why would an Internet based political organization require such heavy funding? Why should they be centralized in Washington DC?
AmericanSelect.org had me onboard until they suggested the presidential candidate must obey stature requirements of previous presidents.
Any presidential nominee must conform to all the Constitutional requirements, as well as be considered someone of similar stature to our previous presidents. That means no Lady Gaga allowed.
The constitutional requirements for president are in need of serious review, and the the secondary condition based on stature is repugnant. Who decides who has sufficient stature? We do, all of us, not some select sub group. I say we should let the people decide, for better or for worse.
Our democracy will ultimately suffer because the few fail to trust in the many. Many voices are made inconsequential by archaic electoral practices and an aging bureaucracy.
You can read the rest of Tom Friedman's coverage at the New York Times here.