From the Streets of California… to The White House?

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For the past couple of months, it has been a minor California political mystery.

Who was paying the petition circulators to collect signatures so that a political party no one ever heard of -- Americans Elect -- could have a spot for its presidential candidate on next year's ballot in California?

Sunday's New York Times carried a partial answer: rich foks who don't like the two party system and want to fund a third party system to represent "the radical center."

The party plans to get its candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. [CORRECTION: California is the 8th state where Americans Elect has qualified. This post originally said California was first). But how to select the candidate? A convention process that allows people to sign up a delegates over the Internet.

It's an interesting idea. And unlikely to go anywhere, despite the touting of the idea in the Times. The record of successful, third-party candidates in modern presidential politics is perfect: they never win.

Independent voters may swing elections, but they don't represent a large enough slice of the electorate to be the base of a winning campaign.

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