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Americans’ Elect, a movement for a third political party, surrenders to apathy June 3, 2012

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Americans’ Elect was a political group designed to use the power of the internet to unite voters behind a third party movement in American politics. Yet in May 2012, the group – despite making the presidential ballot in 25 states – abruptly announced that it was ending its effort. The group announced online:

“However, the rules, as developed in consultation with the Americans Elect Delegates, are clear. As of this week, no candidate achieved the national support threshold required to enter the Americans Elect Online Convention in June. The primary process for the Americans Elect nomination has come to an end.”

Many political analysts are saying that the failure of Americans’ Elect demonstrates the challenges for third party campaigns, and the impossibility of overcoming the stranglehold of the two party system in America. As one writer for The Washington Post argued following the announcement:

“It’s a telling indication that, despite widespread discontent with the two-party system and near-record numbers of people saying that they would be open to voting for a third-party candidate, the future of another major political party emerging any time soon is more pipe dream than practical.”

For more on the history and purpose of Americans’ Elect, see the following segment from PBS’s News Hour:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why might so many Americans desire a third party, especially for presidential elections?

2.  What might explain why Americans’ Elect failed as a movement?

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