This week the respected beltway website POLITICO concluded its online primary, an exercise that let readers vote on a presidential nominee from a group of 10 candidates considered relatively moderate, nine of whom aren't currently running. Choices included Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Michael Bloomberg, and David Petraeus.
When you see so much enthusiasm online for candidates who aren't running, it leads you to wonder whether the process is part of the problem. Is there a better way to pick a president?
There needs to be, and I believe there is. Like the POLITICO primary, it casts aside parties and uses the internet to engage voters from across the country and political spectrum. However, this new democratic pathway goes much further. It's called Americans Elect.
In June of 2012, Americans Elect will host the nation's first ever online presidential convention. The winner will be on the ballot in all 50 states next fall.
Leave the parties at the door. They're the problem. Americans Elect takes no position on any candidate or issue. We simply provide the framework -- 50 state ballot access and AmericansElect.org -- and give you unprecedented power to determine the result. The parties don't own the choices or the outcome, you do.
Take it upon yourself to check it out. Go to AmericansElect.org, sign up to become a delegate, and begin answering questions on the issues. Soon you'll be paired up with like-minded delegates and candidates, and be able to draft candidates you think should run.
You'll help craft the rules and shape our ad campaigns. And you'll vote on which issues you think are most important, leading to the Platform of Questions (a list of questions that all candidates will be required to answer).
Candidates must pledge to pursue the best policies for the country, regardless of party, and will be required to pick VP candidates from a party other than their own.
Our politicians may not be ready for this, but the people are. It is real, and it is happening.
As POLITICO says, "There is mounting evidence voters don't see President Barack Obama or the current crop of GOP candidates as the clear and easy solution... It seems likely if not inevitable an atmosphere this toxic and destabilized will produce an independent presidential candidate who could shake the political system."
I agree, and I applaud POLITICO for furthering the conversation. However, the current state of our country calls for more than conversation. It calls for action.
The Americans Elect process is a tangible way for you to make a difference. AE is using technology to revolutionize politics the way iTunes revolutionized music, the way Amazon revolutionized books. By cutting out the middle man -- the parties -- we're giving American voters the power to nominate a candidate directly for the first time.
Already more than a million Americans have visited our website, AmericansElect.org. I encourage you to do the same. Together, we can make history.