By Christine Todd Whitman and and Dennis Blair
The Washington Post
November 4, 2011
Partisan politics have brought our government to a standstill. Washington has forgotten that, for U.S. democracy to work, every citizen must be represented.
That’s why we are endorsing an innovative process called Americans Elect. We believe that if our country can change the way we nominate our president, we can change the way we govern. As a nation, we must begin to reimagine the way we govern.
Americans Elect is doing just that. This group, founded in March, intends to hold the country’s first nonpartisan online nominating convention next June. Candidates must pledge to govern without regard to partisan political interests and must pick a running mate from a party other than their own.
Right now, Americans Elect is gathering signatures in states across the country to gain ballot access in all 50 states by next November. It is already on the ballot in seven states, including four swing states — Michigan, Ohio, Nevada and Florida — and is gathering signatures in 13 others. It is awaiting certification in California, Utah, Hawaii and Arkansas.
Every registered voter, regardless of party, can sign up to become a delegate at www.americanselect.org. More than 140,000 people already have. By doing so, you’ll immediately possess more power in picking a president than most citizens ever have. You decide which issues are most important and which questions the candidates must answer. And while you can draft the candidate you want to run, you can remain a member of your party and vote in your party’s primary.
The majority of Americans are dissatisfied with two parties that seem more concerned with winning than with governing.
Perhaps the biggest problem with a two-party system is that the easiest platform to run on is “Vote for us. At least we aren’t them.” The stakes are too high today to continue down a path of blaming the other party without taking steps to resolve the problems we face as a nation. Our economy is in crisis, we are dependent on overseas oil and our housing industry remains in jeopardy of collapse. It is time to adopt a more solutions-based process that also provides more choice than the two major parties’ candidates.
We know it’s easy to sit back and make ineffectual calls for compromise and cooperation. That’s why Americans Elect is offering a real opportunity to do something tangible. It blends our newest technologies with our oldest values to promote a rebirth of democracy, and it provides a chance for the majority of Americans, who don’t wholly identify with either major party, to lead, follow or get out of the way.
The party bases have, in short, become the party bosses, and neither party nominates leaders willing to stand tall for country before party. As a former governor and a former director of national intelligence, we know this is a recipe for disaster. We believe that politicians, like most working people, should be judged by results. And producing results requires a willingness to compromise, to get the best deal possible for the American people. That’s called governing, and our democracy can’t function without it.
Neither party is more important than America. If the two parties can’t show that they understand that, then we need to find people who will. America’s future belongs to all of us.
Christine Todd Whitman, a former governor of New Jersey who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003, is co-chair of the Republican Leadership Council. Dennis Blair is a retired naval admiral and served as director of national intelligence from January 2009 to May 2010.