Donald Trump has revived rumors of a possible presidential run, this time as an independent candidate. For reasons known only to himself, Trump has begun to hint at his desire to seek the nomination of online voting website Americans Elect.
Americans Elect is a website that allows Americans to nominate a presidential candidate through an online draft and nomination process outside of the traditional Democratic and Republican primary systems. According to the website, any registered voter can sign up online to be a delegate. In June, the delegates will vote for the candidate they think should be the Americans Elect nominee, and that nominee will then be put on the ballot in every state.
Trump made all sorts of headlines in the spring with his attacks on President Barack Obama’s American citizenship. Shortly after Obama cleared up the “birther” debate by releasing his long-form birth certificate in April, Trump announced he would not run for president.
Despite the media buzz that surrounded every Trump, and despite the fact that a few early polls placed him at the head of the GOP presidential field, Trump has no substantial platform to run for president on besides baseless attacks on Obama’s citizenship. He is a swaggering, blustery embodiment of the 1% and in the time of Occupy Wall Street it is impossible to think he could win an election. However, with these rumors about Americans Elect, Trump has actually done something almost praiseworthy: By attaching his name to Americans Elect, the Donald brings the organization much-needed celebrity.
These days, when American dissatisfaction with government sits at Watergate levels, Americans Elect is a great way to shake up the undeniably gridlocked Washington system. The American people are fed up with the bipartisan politics, with the GOP’s focus on making Obama a one-term president rather than working to solve the economic and social issues crippling our country.
Americans Elect is a sign that the American people are willing to speak up about their problems. It’s also a warning that if the traditional two parties can’t find solutions to these problems, it’s time to think outside the box. If someone doesn’t think Obama or Mitt Romney are what the country needs, here is another option for nominating a candidate, one that uses the Internet to make sure as many people as possible can make their voice heard.
One of the problems with Americans Elect is that it will have trouble attracting good candidates, particularly because, as a new website, it will have trouble getting its name out. Trump has fixed that; the rumors about his pursuit of the nomination have gotten people talking about Americans Elect, which opens the door for a qualified candidate with a voice unrepresented by Obama or Romney (say, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson) to pursue the nomination. It is doubtful that Trump’s prime motive for starting these rumors was to strengthen 21st century American democracy, but he has done so.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore