Americans Elect thought they could create a moderate third party force in America by using the Internet and learned painfully that politics doesn’t work that way. While AE achieved ballot status in 27 states, a notable achievement indeed, they failed at their major goal of having presidential candidates qualify for their online convention in June and have called it quits.
Last Wednesday, prior to the decision to shut down, their CEO and other top staffers said they would confer with their community to determine what to do next. This neatly highlights on one of AE’s biggest problems, which was their top-down organizational structure. Real political parties don’t have CEOs and their internal organization is bottoms-up. Plus, politics is inherently messy and tumultuous. Attempting to force a corporate mindset on it doesn’t work.
However, the primary reason why AE flamed out, as Forbes details in a thoughtful article, is because online organizing by itself isn’t enough. The Internet is a hugely useful tool for getting the word out, but it can never replace organizing in person. You need the grassroots gumption to act face-to-face, with meetings, protests, and the tried and true method of knocking on doors and talking to people.
More on the the failure of Americans Elect.