In the upcoming national election year one would do well to watch the America Elect on-line movement. This is a well financed, tech-savvy group who want to get a candidate on the ballot in all fifty states. They have not yet picked a candidate, though Ron Paul has his eyes on their efforts and Donald Trump is said to be interested.
Seriously, Paul and Trump.
The America Elect people want to change the way candidates are nominated, so to better determine who should be elected. Candidates will be chosen by on-line polls taken among registered voters who sign up on-line. The surveys will narrow the field and select a candidate in June, before the two major parties meet in convention. Their idea is they will thus free their candidate from the extreme right or left positions the major parties impose on their selections. The Special Interest groups who dominate Democratic politics and the Evangelical Right which tends to dominate the GOP in early contests will then lose some of their influence.
The America Elect movement has about $22 million in their war chest and is on the ballot in 13 states already. Their big prize is a place on the California ballot. They are gathering signatures to get on the ballot in 17 other states who accept signatures for a place on the ballot. Their goal is to be on target in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The potential weaknesses of America Elect include their tendency to keep donors secret, which the major parties cannot do, and the use of a central committee to decide who should be on the list of persons for whom registered adherents may vote on-line. They may be able to elect a non-aligned centrist with this approach but it is easy to see the potential for abuse in such a closed system, even one looking for an "open process."
Either way, the American electorate should keep an eye on America Elect. They may be the future.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.