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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Americans Elect: Lessons of ‘A Ridiculous Flop’

Yes, we posted on the ungainly demise of Americans Elect just yesterday. But Paul Krugman’s short, but juicy obit on the hapless organization and their fruitless search for a standard-bearer merits a plug. As Krugman opines,

And the center not only did not hold, it couldn’t seem to get any attention whatsoever. Americans Elect, a lavishly funded “centrist” group that was supposed to provide an alternative to traditional political parties, has been a ridiculous flop. Basically, about seven people were actually excited about the venture — all of them political pundits. Actual voters couldn’t care less.

Krugman shines brightly on the why of the disaster:

Why Americans Elect? Because there exists in America a small class of professional centrists, whose stock in trade is denouncing the extremists in both parties and calling for a middle ground. And this class cannot, as a professional matter, admit that there already is a centrist party in America, the Democrats — that the extremism they decry is all coming from one side of the political fence. Because if they admitted that, they’d just be moderate Democrats, with no holier-than-thou pedestal to stand on.
Americans Elect was created to appeal to this class of professional centrists — which meant that it was doomed to go nowhere. Because outside that class, the large number of people who believe in all the good stuff the centrists claim to favor are, you know, going to vote for Obama. The large number of people who don’t believe in any of that are going to vote for Romney. All AE could ever have been was a distraction; and it turns out not to have managed even that.

Conceived as it was on the flimsiest of premises, Americans Elect never had much going for it, other than the support of false equivalency pundits, who clearly don’t know squat about coalitions or what it takes to build a real protest movement.

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