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Americans Elect and the end of the two party system

If you think the 2012 presidential race will be between Barak Obama and a Republican, better take another look. Americans Elect (AE) will have their candidates on the ballot in every state in 2012.

Although organizers refer to AE as a “nonpartisan” entity, it is registered as a political party and has a war chest of millions of dollars. As state deadlines for ballot access come up, Americans Elect has made it onto every state ballot thus far and intends to be on the ballot in all fifty states. This is not another attempt by a quirky millionaire to run a one time campaign. AE’s Board of Directors includes, Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence. Their “Leadership” group includes many individuals from financial firms and top academic institutions. While executives from the biggest corporations have yet to come on board, AE is run by powerful, well connected and competent people.

A poll on the AE web site states that 80% of voters would consider an alternative presidential ticket in the upcoming election. AE is asking every American voter to register online as a delegate to Americans Elect. In June of this year there will be an online poll of these delegates to determine AE’s presidential ticket. AE has already collected almost two and a half million signatures in the process of getting on the ballot. The appeal of AE is that internet technology now allows America to have “real” democracy and bypass the corrupt two party system. There will be many people who think that this will give them a voice in the political process that they haven’t had. A look at who is behind AE makes it likely that AE will be a corporate controlled “technocratic” party that will further punish the victims of the economic crisis.

The main point here is to recognize that the two party system is under attack and there will be a political realignment in the coming years. It is not a question of the possible success of third parties. A look at American history shows that under certain conditions new parties come into existence and old parties split or disappear. The United States is in the midst of a serious economic crisis that has led to a political crisis. Both parties have refused to punish the perpetrators of the economic crisis and continue to ignore the victims of the crisis. Americans are increasingly rejecting both parties.

Some progressives have lost any hope that corporate control of the Democratic Party can be broken. They have launched a new party, the Justice Party. Rocky Anderson, former two-term mayor of Salt Lake City, is their presidential candidate. The Justice Party is less than two months old and is already active in 22 states.

Indications of the realignment of the political process are becoming clear. Attacks by Tea Party supporters are wreaking havoc on the Republican Party. The Occupy movement is refusing to support the Democratic Party. Progressives have organized the Justice Party. There will be at least three major candidates for president, Obama, the Republican nominee, and the Americans Elect nominee. Also, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party and the Libertarian Party candidate will be on the ballot in many states.

The 2012 elections is becoming a critical debate on the future direction of our country. The economic crisis is demanding that those who rule our country continue their attack on the overwhelming majority of Americans. All the major candidates will take the country in this direction. Activists must not sit on the sidelines dismissing electoral politics as an unimportant arena of struggle. Progressive cannot hold their nose and vote to support the lesser of two evils. Support for the Justice Party and Rocky Anderson gives progressives a clear way to enter the debate in a principled manner and build a movement to save our country.

Lenny Brody has been politically active for 50 years fighting in the interests of poor and working class people. He was involved in the civil rights movement in South Carolina and the anti Vietnam War protests during the 1960s. Since that time he has studied economics and theories of political change while continuing his political activism. Mr. Brody is working with the Chicago chapter of Progressive Democrats of America to build an independent political movement that will fight for and empower the victims of the current economic crisis.

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