Americans Elect was believed by many to have ended when they failed to recruit a presidential candidate who met their standards, after spending eight figures to get millions of signatures and getting on the ballot in about 30 states.
However, late in the election season they spent a non-trivial amount of money to help elect independent Maine US Senator (and former Governor) Angus King, who was already solidly ahead in the polls before they intervened.
Michael Bloomberg is now officially known to be involved with Americans Elect. Many people suspected this all along, but it was never made public during the time that Americans Elect was getting on the ballot in numerous states and publicly presenting itself as a non-ideological movement which would back any candidate who gathered enough public support through its online system.
However, Americans Elect now no longer attempts to seek a public vote to decide on which candidates it backs, instead serving to channel the money of several wealthy Wall Street financiers directly to their preferred candidates.
“As Maine goes, so goes the country. The country and Mainers are hungry for problem-solving, independent candidates running for important offices,” said Daniel B. Winslow, senior counsel at the law firm Proskauer, who represents Americans Elect, which is running the ads.
“If he is successful, Americans Elect will participate in the upcoming election cycle to develop 3, 5, or 10 more Angus Kings representing an independent caucus to bridge the divide between the partisan extremes, to turn the tide of gridlock in Washington, and to put us onto a course of government the American people want and deserve,” Winslow said. In addition to serving as a lawyer for the group, Winslow is a Republican member of the Massachusetts House from Norfolk.
This year, he said, the group has raised a total of $1.75 million to put into the Maine race — Bloomberg’s contribution of $500,000, plus $500,000 from financier Peter Ackerman and $750,000 from Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor John Burbank.
AE Transparency provides a cynical analysis:
The problem with AECorp’s old strategy was that while “the country [is] hungry for problem-solving independent candidates,” it nonetheless proved to be the case that the country — as represented by Americans Elect’s delegates in its online nominating convention — proved not to be hungry for precisely those candidates which Pete Ackerman and his henchmen personally favored. So it was necessary to destroy the village (the old AECorp) to save it. AE now retreats back to the time-tested cynical strategy of simply enabling a few ultra-rich individuals to throw wads of money around influencing elections, thus handily side-stepping the problem of the inherent untidiness of actual democracy.
We here at AE Transparency have been in the business of predicting AECorp’s future ever since its appearance on the national stage, with (we blush to admit) uncanny accuracy. Here’s our prediction for the rest of AE’s future. The Corporation will indeed, as Winslow has warned us, throw tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in the next election cycle into promoting the candidacies of its hand-picked favorite ‘independents’, with increasingly visible participation by Mike Bloomberg. This cycle’s King’s Gambit is merely a test-drive. Then, with this coterie of nominally independent (but financially dependent) sycophants in its pocket, doing its bidding (for how else could they be re-elected?) and aping its words, AECorp will go after its long-sought brass ring: putting Bloomberg himself in the White House in 2016.
In short, Ackerman Selects has simply abandoned the short con, in favor of the long con.
Michael Bloomberg has a net worth of $25 billion in 2012 and is the 10th richest person in the US. He has been mayor of New York City since 2001 and has been a Democrat, Republican and independent.
Jim Cook at Irregular Times:
Forbes, the magazine of record for America’s financiers, published an editorial by Douglas Schoen, longtime advisor to both Americans Elect and Michael Bloomberg. In this editorial, Schoen praised the decision by three Wall Street tycoons — Peter Ackerman, John Burbank III and Michael Bloomberg — to chip in $1.75 million of their own money to Americans Elect and spend it, through the Americans Elect Super PAC, on the election of Angus King to the Senate. Schoen writes:
Candidate Angus King’s victory in the Maine Senate race is one such ray of hope…. It also involved a coalition between Americans Elect, the group which succeeded in getting 50 state ballot access but failed to recruit a Presidential candidate, its visionary chairman Peter Ackerman and Mayor Michael Bloomberg who made a significant contribution to King’s campaign. Even though the Bloomberg/Americans Elect endeavor — one that I was truly proud to be part of — was outspent nearly 5 to 1, King still managed an overwhelming victory.
Schoen indicates that Americans Elect’s Super PAC spending will continue in future elections, with the $1.75 million in Wall Street money just a “first step,” a “beginning” effort:
The efforts of Americans Elect and particularly the efforts of Mayor Bloomberg around the country are a tremendous first step in promoting the type of bipartisanship we will need to avoid fiscal and economic problems in the near future. They have begun the process of crafting a new, moderate and bi-partisan vision for America, a vision that we so desperately need.
I was proud to be part of those efforts both in Maine and around the country and believe that it is only through the effort to create independent caucuses in both the House and Senate that we have a chance to resolve the endemic problems we face in our country.
Schoen’s editorial calls for the continued spending of big Wall Street money on elections by Americans Elect, spending that happened without any of the input on the decision to which rank-and-file Americans Elect delegates are entitled. In his editorial, Schoen called repeatedly for the creation of a caucus in the Congress to the liking of his employer, Michael Bloomberg.