Whom will Americans Elect?

Sean Braisted attended the forum at Vanderbilt on Tuesday, and subsequently wrote a thorough, insightful post about Americans Elect and how its strategy could play out.

I had sensed a common thread with the Unity08 movement, but was unaware of (or, more likely, had forgotten about) the literal connection between that group and the Draft Bloomberg movement until I read Braisted’s piece. Bloomberg is often brought up as a potential Americans Elect candidate; and some say he is making noises about mounting an independent campaign even while he claims to enjoy the mayorship of New York.

To date, and this is really recent, I know of only one candidate who has declared in this nominating process. Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer tonight announced that he is officially seeking the Americans Elect nomination, although he is continuing his long-odds bid for the GOP nomination at least through the New Hampshire “first in the nation” primary.

(Personal note: Roemer has a great-looking website, and the photo slideshow includes a shot of him on the set of The Colbert Report. Win.)

Lady J: Don’t stop the Cain Train

Dr. Jean Howard-Hill, Republican primary candidate in Tennessee’s 3rd District and chair of the National Republican African American Caucus, says there may not be much substance to the allegations against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, and that he should stay in the race as a result of his “reassessment.”

From the inbox:

In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against GOP presidential contender Herman Cain, the National Republican African American Caucus [NRAAC] national chair, Dr. Jean Howard-Hill says short of a primary endorsement, the NRAAC stands with Mr. Cain and encourages him to remain in the race.

Dr. Jean Howard-Hill, who also has taught American Government at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga points out, “Politics is a hard ground where even if everyone else who is judging you is also with fault, once you enter the arena, attempts will be made to find everything possible to raise the issue of guilt. It is all about discrediting your opponent in an attempt to create an advantage.”

She says that although it is not meant to be about race, Mr. Cain also brings to this election and also to the Republican Party, hope that the party (at least at the grassroots level) is embracing the idea of people of color being supported for elected positions.

“We look out on the national scene and see so few to none of us. Seeing how the GOP has embraced Mr. Cain, as African American Republicans we can’t help but be encouraged and inspired.”

Howard-Hill says that Mr. Cain has to deal with these allegations, but should do it in such a way that it does not slow down his pace or cause supporters to question his abilities or integrity. Having his wife at his side, she believes makes a big difference and is his strongest defense.

As a female, personally she contends, “It is not within the nature of a woman to stand with her man, if she believes he has done her wrong. So if Gloria Cain can still support him and be at his side, perhaps this is an indication that the allegations may not be concerning enough to have significant impact. Whether this is true or not, remains to be seen.”

The NRAAC intends to support Mr. Cain’s right and need to stay in the race, until there is a more compelling reason for not doing so.

According to Nat’l Chair Howard-Hill, “even if he does not become the GOP presidential nominee, the vice presidential spot is not out of reach. Therefore, he has to stay strong and continue to contend for the number one presidential spot.”


Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and one-time GOP presidential phenom Herman Cain today said he is “reassessing” whether he will remain in the Republican primary contest.

Cain had rocketed in polls to share the frontrunner spotlight with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but allegations of sexual assault and an affair, missteps on foreign policy, and an inability to convince some voters of the viability of his “9-9-9” tax plan combined to cause likely voters to look elsewhere in recent days.

(Credit for the headline goes to Bill Colrus)

Seigenthaler to moderate forum on presidential nominating process

Today (Tuesday, 29 November 2011) at 5:30 CST, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, First Amendment Center founder John Seigenthaler will moderate a panel discussion about a new nominating process in the works that may present voters with a third option in the 2012 presidential election.

From an email sent by panel participants Americans Elect:

Americans Elect is participating in a panel discussion hosted by Vanderbilt University at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29 at The First Amendment Center. The panel will include Americans Elect Chief Operating Officer Elliot Ackerman, Shayne Chair Professor of Public Policy and Social Science Larry Bartels, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions Josh Clinton, Associate Director of the Latin American Public Opinion Project Liz Zechmeister and Chair of the Vanderbilt Department of Political Science John Geer. The discussion will be moderated by John Seigenthaler, chairman emeritus of The Tennessean and founder of The First Amendment Center. There will be a reception at 6:30 p.m. directly following the forum. The public is invited to the free event.

This forum is part of a series of university campus events in which Americans Elect shares its nationwide effort to open up the political process to all voters to put a third choice on the 2012 presidential ballot in all 50 states – a choice not bound by party politics – via the first-ever direct, online nominating convention in June 2012.

Americans Elect has already been certified in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada, Kansas, Florida Michigan, Ohio and Utah. Signature gathering or ballot access activities are underway in Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, Oregon, Maine, Rhode Island, South Carolina, North Carolina, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Maryland, Oklahoma and Tennessee; certification is pending in California, Colorado and Hawaii.

While not much is known about who’s behind Americans Elect or whom its candidates may be, it is certainly an interesting phenomenon to watch. Is it a Trojan horse spoiler ruse, or a genuine attempt to directly involve more citizens (er, on this side of the digital divide, anyway) in the electoral process? Other?

Four vie for county mayor special election

The Times Free Press has the latest on the slate of candidates running in next year’s special election for Hamilton County Mayor. The election is being held to choose a mayor who will serve in the remainder of the 2010-14 term.

As it stands right now, two Republicans (interim Mayor Jim Coppinger and Basil Marceaux Sr.) will face each other in the March primary, and then a three-way race pitting that primary winner against independent Richard Ford and Democrat Rick Wilson will take place in August. If any other Democrats or Republicans qualify for the election, they will join the others in the primary. Any additional independents will simply carry forward to the August general election.

Additional county elections in 2012 will be held for the County Commission, 3rd District seat (special election); the Board of Education in Districts 1, 2, 4, and 7; and isn’t it time for the oddly timed Assessor of Property non-event?