It’s bus tour time. With 14 days until the Iowa caucus, GOP candidates are rolling through early-primary states by the half-dozen. But between Rick Perry’s “Faith, Jobs and Freedom” tour and Michele Bachmann’s “barnstorming bus” will soon be another breed of slogan-wrapped charter bus, one without a candidate and without a party.
Americans Elect, a group that aims to nominate a non-partisan presidential candidate through an online voting process, is taking its outreach efforts from the interwebs to the interstates with a month-long bus tour through the key primary states.
“There are some people who aren’t motivated to go and get involved yet on their computer, so we are going to bring the computer to people,” said Josh Levine, Americans Elect’s chief technology officer. “The bus tour will bring our message to everyone on the East coast: Pick a president, not a party.”
Levine said the tour, which kicks off Jan. 8 in New Hampshire and concludes in Florida the first week of February, aims to inform voters about the first-ever online alternative to traditional party nominating conventions at a time when partisan gridlock seems to dominate politics.
“Americans Elect is a simple concept to put on paper, but very hard for people to get their arms around,” Levine said. “We don’t have any ideology. We aren’t pushing any candidate. We have no candidate. We are just a process.”
Any registered voter can be an Americans Elect delegate and can, through its website, draft and nominate any qualified candidate for president. The group is in the process of gaining ballot access in all 50 states by collecting petition signatures.
It has already secured a spot on the 2012 presidential ballot in 13 states, including California, the state with the most electoral votes.
While most of the tour stops have yet to be finalized, Levine said the group will try to meet up with some of the GOP candidates as the campaign in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.
“We intend to crash the party,” he said. “We want people to pick a president and not party.”
Levine said Americans Elect is hoping to bring competition to a political system that is dominated by only two parties.
“Competition, we welcome it everywhere, but when it comes to politics, oh no, you can only have two,” he said. “Can you imagine if you could only get two kinds of hamburgers in the United States? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”