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Jews in the Center?

Americans Elect favors some interesting candidates

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Sen. Bernie Sanders.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Americans Elect, the centrist, non-partisan political action committee which seeks “to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to voters—not the political system,” has in many ways been a failure. Despite raising upwards of $30 million (its primary funder is a New York private-equity guy named Peter Ackerman, and it’s suspected that much funding comes from that world) and getting a spot on the ballots in several states, the group has not recruited a candidate even after reaching out to centrist luminaries like former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey (who it turns out is going to run again) and former Utah governor and Republican contender Jon Huntsman.

Still: $30 million! 16 state ballots (including California, Florida, and Ohio)! 2,467,910 signatures nationwide! It’s worth looking at which candidates Americans Elect supporters favor. First is Rep. Ron Paul, who is running for the Republican nomination: makes sense. Second is Huntsman: ditto. Two guys representing two wings of the Republican Party who have nonetheless been rejected by most voters in that party; you’d expect Democrats to gain less traction given that the current president is one of them.

And in third place is not a Democrat but an independent: Bernie Sanders, socialist (which is to say, Jewish) senator from Vermont! Obama’s fourth. Then, in fifth: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg! In ninth: Jon Stewart! (Right behind Stephen Colbert.) We’ve long assumed the first Jewish president would be a Democrat, since most Jews are Democrats; or perhaps, in a twist on the Colin Powell theory, a Republican, such as Rep. Eric Cantor. But maybe he or she will be an Americans Elect-er?

Dude, Where’s My Candidate? [Politico]
Most Supported [Americans Elect]
Related: The Gentleman From Virginia [Tablet Magazine]

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Americans Elect should not be discounted, for it represents the birth of a new form of personal political expression and voting, thanks to internet technology. No longer will it be necessary for voters to listen passively as parties, media talking heads, and special interests attempt to manipulate their thoughts and emotions for political gain. Political campaigns and decision making will be voter-centered and driven by their preferences, with candidates selected for matching the views of the members of the electorate instead of party, media, and other vested interests. Think of the time and money saved as attention shifts toward defining the issues and creating potential solutions instead of blaming, distorting, and creating distrust. By turning our attention toward the Americans Elect process and away from theatrical party nonsense we can reclaim our individual voices and power. It is vital that as many voters as possible join AE in order to make sure it responds and evolves in a manner that serves the broad majority rather than only an energized minority.

As much as I wish it were, it’s not a centrist organization. There are people involved, including staff, from all over the political spectrum. No major centrist has openly declared that they’re running, so a mass of centrists hasn’t really clamored to join and give their support to anyone… there is a smattering of support for right wingers, left wingers and everything in between… including satirists like Stephen Colbert, and joke candidates like Vermin Supreme.

I’m still holding out hope that someone like Bloomberg or David Walker will jump in, but that’s seeming less and less likely as time drags on.

Solomon Kleinsmith
Rise of the Center


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Jews in the Center?

Americans Elect favors some interesting candidates

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