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?
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.