T. J. O’Hara, Who Placed Fifth in Americans Elect Primary, Reveals Details of Running in Americans Elect Process

T. J. O’Hara, a businessman from San Diego County, California, received the fifth highest number of clicks in the Americans Elect nomination process. He has this article in the Washington Times, providing an account of how the Americans Elect web page and voting system was flawed.

O’Hara received 584 clicks. The candidates who received more clicks were Buddy Roemer with 6,293; Rocky Anderson with 3,390; Michealene Risley with 2,351; and Laurence Kotlikoff with 2,027.


T. J. O’Hara, Who Placed Fifth in Americans Elect Primary, Reveals Details of Running in Americans Elect Process — 8 Comments

  1. While I can understand Mr. O’Hara’s frustration with AE (I think they mismanaged almost everything except for the ballot access piece), I find a lot of his arguments hold no water.

    The ‘barriers to entry’ (my words) AE put in place for candidates to move ahead in the nominating process make a whole lot of sense. A candidate for president must have organizations in-state in a great many states to make a go of that race. What the AE process showed was that none of the declared candidates (including Buddy Roemer) had the organization in place to run a credible national campaign.

    The ‘traditional’ candidates Mr. O’Hara refers to were ‘draft’ candidates who did not (as far as I know) actively pursue the AE nomination.

    I think that AE absolutely made the right choice in pulling the plug on this year’s election. Better to admit defeat early on than suffer an embarrassing loss with a candidate who has no money, no name recognition and no organizational support.

    There are flaws with AE’s model – the most basic one being that most voters and campaign volunteers are motivated to a large extent by ideology of some sort, whether Left, Right, Center or other. AE did not pick an ideology – and I think that seriously hurt their volunteer base and their fund raising prospects. I for one was not about to give heavily to an organization that may have ended up with a presidential candidate who had a great many views in opposition to my own.

    The other major (and I believe fatal) flaw with AE is that you cannot run a successful presidential race without a substantial amount of organization at the state and local levels. AE should work on building this grass roots network and win some local and state-wide races. Only then will the organization have what is needed to pull off a nationwide race – and attract credible, electable and viable presidential candidates.

  2. Folks with millions of $$$ to spare can merely save Democracy and Western Civilization via a petition to have —

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

    ONE election day.
    Equal nominating petitions.
    NO moron super-dangerous caucuses, primaries and conventions — all now New Stone Age stuff.

    I.E. NO more MORON stunt stuff like the AE fiasco.

  3. Pingback: Americans Elect Candidate: Process Flawed and Biased | Election Law Blog

  4. The article was interesting because it’s almost a post-mortem from a well placed individual.

    The idea that something is to be created that will accomplish a winning candidacy for the presidentcy that is outside the two-party system is, well, fantastic.

    All are forgiven for any errors, such ends are truly worthy. We should learn. Learn, learn some more but now that more is known we all still all have a license says me to impeach and toss aside the two party system.

    The effort that succeeds someday (optimism required)will happen because the two-party system will be THE ISSUE, and that won’t just happen, many good people are going to have to continously aim upon it and experience failure until the laughs come, then the fight comes, and then. . .

  5. T.J. O’Hara’s litany of reasons for AECorp’s failure are at once relevant and beside the point.

    He has quite a bit to say about the technical failure involving verifying delegates’ identities. While this must have been maddening for candidates such as himself, it was hardly a major contributing factor to AECorp’s fall. Witness non-candidate Ron Paul, who without ever campaigning for the AECorp nomination managed to acquire 50% of his required qualifying vote total…even in the face of rumors swirling among Paul supporters that AE was a trap to disqualify them from serving as Republican delegates. Had Paul declared for Americans Elect he could easily have earned the required qualifying vote total. Technical glitches or no, it was do-able if you were a compelling candidate. AE just didn’t attract any compelling candidates (instead attracting the likes of O’Hara, who ran a Romney-Lite campaign touting his executive experience and eschewing any discussion of policy or philosophy). So the technical glitches weren’t AE’s undoing.

    O’Hara also whines a good deal about the two-tiered qualification requirements for political “insiders” versus “outsiders”. While we agree that that system was kind-of bizarre and about as non-egalitarian as could be, nonetheless O’Hara and the other outsider candidates knew about it going in…i.e., they accepted it from the git-go. Whining about it at the end is too precious. They assumed that if they ran compelling campaigns they could overcome this hurdle. They didn’t. Frustrating as that must have been for them, it was also not the fundamental cause of AE’s failure.

    AE failed because, from Day 1, its every action, and inaction, and rule and statement, sent the clear message that it was an astroturf operation, powered by Wall Streeters, to get their choice of candidate on the ballot while disguising the effort as a grassroots initiative. Its tone and bearing and actions were imperial, Olympian, in absurd contrast to its populist we-the-people PR message. Politically disaffected web-savvy youth — AECorp’s target market segment — not being stupid, picked up on this cognitive dissonance, and simply walked away laughing. THAT’s why AECorp failed. It was too obvious in treating its sales prospects like the “little people” it felt them to be. And so people turned away in droves. In the end, it couldn’t manage to seduce more than an estimated 30,000 American voters, tops, to participate.

    An interesting issue which O’Hara’s article failed to address, and which someone really should, is this: the main declared candidates, including Roemer, Anderson, Kotlikoff, Risley, and O’Hara, among others, are all smart people. They all knew, going in, that AECorp didn’t pass the ‘sniff-test’; they knew it had a covert agenda and motives and was run by shadowy plutocrats (we know this because we had private discussions with many of them on this topic). Yet they all elected to hold their noses and climb into bed with the devil, desperate for that 50-state ballot access. They willingly served as stage props in Peter Ackerman’s democracy theater. Thus, they all share a measure of blame for the con Ackerman and his clubhouse buddies attempted to pull on democracy. None of them have publicly accepted, or even discussed, that. THAT’s the story that some AE candidate should write about, rather than just licking his wounds and whining in public.

    AECorp has promised it will be back in 2013. We, in turn, promise to double down on our efforts to hound them to failure. Nothing good can come from such bad actors.

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