Americans Elect Corporation's otherwise silent Board of Directors posted its new Post-Election Convention Rules on its web site today. And as you might have expected, they're an eyebrow-raiser.
We won't subject you to a detailed analysis of every single item in the New Rules, mostly because there's no real point in doing so. Like any good stage magician, AECorp's shadowy owner/operator, Peter Ackerman, is a master of the art of mis-direction: if you fall for watching his dramatically flourishing hands as he performs a trick it's a safe bet that his un-noticed foot will be working the pedal which actually controls the scam. If you're like us, you always wonder how the trick is really done. So here follows an inside look at just the important bits...the bits which make Pete's lovely assistant (that would be us, the AECorp 'delegates' and 'candidates') vanish into thin air. Be sure to read this all the way through, because the real trick comes right at the end...everything else leading up to that moment is mere flim-flammery.
Rule 14.0 Call of Post-election Convention. If no candidate for President has received sufficient popular votes to assure majority support at the Electoral College, and the Americans Elect nominees have received sufficient popular votes to qualify them for support of at least one Electoral College vote which could materially affect the outcome of the election, Americans Elect shall convene a post-election convention to be held before the date of the Electoral College in accordance with these rules....
Here's the Trick:
First, we should explain that the Post-Election Convention Rules begin with "Rule 14.0" because its Pre-Election Convention Rules ended with Rule 13.
These new post-election convention rules get to the real heart of the matter at AECorp: what happens if the AE ticket wins some electoral college votes, but not enough to win the election? And this question is much more than an arcane bit of minutia. Veteran politics-watchers and students of history know that a new third-party's chances of actually winning the election, its first time around, are slim to none, although it may well win a few electoral votes. So the critical question surrounding AECorp is: what does it intend to do with its electoral votes in the case of a close election? These New Rules give us a peek at the answer (provided you remember to watch the magician's foot, not his hands).
Rule 15.0 Purposes of Post-election Convention. The purposes of the post-election convention of Americans Elect shall be to (a) ascertain which issues are of greatest interest and concern to Delegates by updating the Platform of Questions and to solicit responses by the candidates for President and Vice President to those questions; (b) empower the Americans Elect nominee as representative of the majority of Delegates directly to yield the Americans Elect nomination and redirect his/her Electoral College support to other candidates for the offices of President and Vice President to avoid the divisive partisan interests of such decision by members of Congress in the event no candidate is likely to attain a majority vote in the Electoral College, and (c) direct the Americans Elect electors and alternate electors to cast their ballots at the Electoral College in accordance with these post-election convention rules....
Here's the Trick:
Rule 15 begins the important initial process of lulling the audience into complacency...a sense that we understand what is going on on-stage, and it's all on the up-and-up: in the event that AECorp's ticket wins only a few electors it will call a post-election (but pre-Electoral College) convention of delegates to determine how it shall direct its electoral votes to one of the other tickets in the election "to avoid the divisive partisan interests of such decision by members of Congress...." Well, that certainly seems reasonable enough doesn't it?
Rule 17.0 Equal Opportunity: Updated Platform of Questions. The post-election convention shall allow all eligible Delegates to post and indicate their support and priority for questions in a post-election Updated Platform of Questions to be answered by the candidates. The Updated Platform of Questions and candidate responses shall be posted on the Website....
Here's the Trick:
Rule 17 (in combination with Rule 15, see above) provide for an 'updated' AECorp Platform of Questions to be the product of the post-election convention. Subsequent portions of this and other Rules provide means for the other parties' tickets to answer these new questions, as part of the process whereby AECorp proposes to determine to whom it will throw its electoral votes. In other words, AECorp proposes to re-open the presidential campaign after the election. But never mind...that's not the real trick, either; it is merely a mis-directing hand-fluorish. You should note, however, that nothing in Rules 15, 17, or elsewhere requires that the actual content of the updated Platform of Questions will be determined by the votes of the delegates in the post-election convention. Just as the original Platform of Questions was determined solely by the Platform of Questions Committee (whose members, according to the Corporation's draconian bylaws, "serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors"), so too the 'updated' Platform of Questions will be determined solely by that Committee's rather dubious chairpersons. That whole thing about "ascertain[ing] which issues are of greatest interest and concern to Delegates"? Just another flourish of the magician's hand.
OK, we're steadily working up to the real trick, so watch closely now...
Rule 20.1 Dispute Resolution. For purposes of the post-election convention, the Board shall be the final and binding arbiter of any dispute and shall interpret and enforce the post-election convention rules.
Here's the Trick:
The post-election convention will be ruled with an iron hand by AECorp owner/operator Peter Ackerman's hand-picked Board of Directors (just as the rest of AECorp is so ruled by them today). Nothing will happen in that convention that the Board doesn't want to see happen. And these post-election convention rules mean whatever the Board says they mean (not what you or anybody else think they mean).
Rule 20.2 Reversal by Delegates. The determination of Electoral College support shall be final and not subject to change or reversal by the Board. Delegate reversal shall not apply to any yielding of the nomination, any vote at the post- election convention or any decision by the Board in accordance with 20.1.
Here's the Trick:
When the Board of Directors determines which way AECorp will throw its electoral votes, the delegates will have no say in the matter, and no means to reverse the Board's decision. If Pete Ackerman wants to throw 'his' electoral votes to SpongeBob SquarePants that's what's damn well going to happen. And we love that bit about "not subject to change or reversal by the board." The board made the decision in the first place, remember?
Ok, here comes the money-shot, so watch real closely...
Rule 22.0 Amendment. The Rules Committee may from time to time propose amendments to these post-election convention rules, provided that all proposed amendments shall be posted for Delegate review and comment and that none of the presidential tickets who received the top three greatest number of votes at the presidential election is disadvantaged by any amendment. All amendments shall be effective upon adoption by the Board.
Here's the Trick:
All these New Rules we've been wading through? Fuggedabadit! AECorp's unelected Rules Committee, ruled over by a notorious DC lobbyist for coal, gas, and oil companies, (and "serving at the pleasure of the Board of Directors," remember?) gets to change these rules any time it likes, any way it likes, with the wave of its corpulent bejeweled hand. Even just one minute before the Electoral College begins to cast its votes, Ackerman can completely change the rules of the game to ensure the outcome he desires.
PRESTO! (Tah-dah!). And the winner of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election is: whomever Peter Ackerman damn well says it is! And so our Dear Leader Ackerman becomes a king-maker like no other in all of human history (with the possible exception of Grigori Rasputin). Other billionaires can only dream of owning a U.S. President like this. Not a bad year's work for one shadowy billionaire, especially considering that it cost Ackerman not one red cent (because his start-up donations of millions of dollars to Americans Elect Corporation were paid back to him by the Corporation from gullible Americans' own pockets).
"So long, muppets, and thanks for all the clicks!"