Amid the media madness and campaigning craziness that swept through New Hampshire Tuesday there was one banner-wrapped bus that was traveling the state without a candidate.
The Americans Elect “Crash the Party” bus tour set off through the Granite state this week not to promote a presidential candidate or political party, but to convince voters that two choices — one Republican and one Democrat — are not enough in American presidential politics.
“Competition, we welcome it everywhere, but when it comes to politics, oh no, you can only have two,” Josh Levine, Americans Elect’s chief technology officer told ABC in December when he announced the bus tour. “Can you imagine if you could only get two kinds of hamburgers in the United States? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
During their three days of New Hampshire campaign party crashing, Americans Elect has registered about 150 delegates for their online presidential nominating convention, which takes place simultaneously across the nation in June.
Since the group launched its web site in July, 350,000 eligible voters have signed up to vote online for the presidential candidate of their choice, Americans Elect deputy press secretary Dagny Leonard said.
“Our numbers are growing steadily,” Leonard said. “I think people are looking for a candidate that will discuss issues and solve problems rather than pandering to extremes of either party.”
But while voters may be looking for a different nominating process, the current Republican candidates are not.
Both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum said they would not consider running under the Americans Elect ticket if they lost the GOP nomination, Leonard said.
“The top candidates are sticking to the idea that the two party system is working, even as they say that everyone needs to work together,” she said. “They are sticking to the strict two party system.”
Little-known Republican presidential candidate Buddy Roemer is the only politician who has publicly said he will seek the Americans Elect ticket, which requires the presidential and vice presidential candidates to be of different parties.
The group, which does not advocate for any candidate or any party, is striving for a spot on the ballot in all 50 states, a feat even some GOP candidates have not been able to achieve.
In Arizona, for example, where GOP candidate Jon Huntsman failed to qualify for the primary ballot today, Americans Elect has already secured ballot access for the general election.
It is on the ballot in a dozen other states as well, including the largest state in the nation: California, and has submitted the requisite number of signatures to secure ballot access in four others.
The Americas Elect bus tour will take a detour from early primary states today and head to Boston and Philadelphia before rolling down to South Carolina for the Jan. 21 primary. Then it is on to Florida for the Jan. 31 election.
“We are trying to raise awareness and get as many delegates as we can to participate in the process,” Leonard said. “A lot of people are engaged by the idea, even if they are already supporting a candidate.”