Boren pins hopes for nation's political future on bipartisan plan
Rigid partisanship rivaled only by Civil War-Era politics and special-interest money are two of the main factors preventing the United States from overcoming an economic struggle that is almost a “free fall,” OU President David Boren said.
President Boren talks about his support for Americans Elect Video
Kingsley Burns, The Oklahoma Daily
These things have contributed to his support for a new organization hoping to place a new bipartisan presidential ticket on the 2012 ballot, Boren said Thursday in an interview with The Daily.
Americans Elect has collected signatures to place its nontraditional ticket on the 2012 ballot, according to the organization’s website.
At A Glance
Boren listed some politicians he thinks would make good candidates for Americans Elect.
• Bill Cohen — Former secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton and former senator and representative from Maine. Cohen served as a Republican.
• Christine Whitman — Former Environmental Protection Agency director and former governor of New Jersey. Whitman served as a Republican.
• Bob Graham — Former Florida governor and senator. Graham served as a Democrat.
Source: OU President David Boren
People who register with the site can participate in the candidate nomination process, and a primary will be held to select nominees for the Americans Elect ticket.
Only registered voters can participate in the process.
After that, the American Elect ticket will be on the 2012 ballot with candidates selected through the site to compete with the Democrat and Republican candidates selected through the traditional primary system.
Boren spoke at a press conference Feb. 29 as members of the Americans Elect initiative delivered the more than 90,000 signatures required to place its ticket on the Oklahoma ballot. Americans Elect could impact the political system by forcing members of opposing political parties to find common ground as members of one unified ticket, Boren said.
“This breaks up the monopoly of the two parties,” Boren said. “It opens up the political process.”
This would hopefully create a “unity government” similar to Winston Churchill’s government during World War II, Boren said. Of course the situation isn’t as dramatic, he said.
Americans Elect began gathering signatures in 2010 before it went public in July, spokeswoman Dagny Leonard said. Americans Elect is on the ballot in 17 states, has gathered enough signatures to get on 14 more and is on track to appear on the ballots of all 50 states by the November election, she said.
Boren’s support for the Americans Elect initiative does not mean he has any intention of running for president, he said.
There still is plenty of work to do at OU, Boren said.
However, if Americans Elect nominated the right candidates, Boren would be more than willing to endorse that ticket, he said.
The hope is a bipartisan ticket wouldn’t necessarily win, but would show legislators the public wants compromise, Boren said.
“I think it could work if some people of real stature decide to run,” Boren said. “It certainly could get enough votes to have an impact on the future course of the country.”
An Americans Elect ticket that would appeal to Boren is one with candidates who are for a constitutional amendment to over turn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC 2010 decision, he said. Hopefully, the candidates would be for the shared sacrifice of revenue increases and spending cuts that are necessary to balance the budget, Boren said.
In Citizens United, the Court determined corporations and unions could give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates for expenditures such as signs and advertising.
Americans Elect will begin a primary process in May to begin selecting the candidates who will participate in the main June primary, Leonard said.
Once a candidate is selected in the primary, he or she will be placed on the Americans Elect ballot and voters hopefully will have the option to select that ticket in the 2012 election, she said.