The Minnesota state shutdown and the ineptness of our federally elected officials to find a timely solution to the national debt crisis has left me more disillusioned with politics and leadership in this country than ever before. I wish it were as simple as pointing a finger at one party for this great leadership meltdown, but there is plenty of blame to go around. I join with millions of other Americans who say, “a pox on both of your houses,” Republicans and Democrats. 

It’s time for a change, but not solely a change of who is in power. It’s time for a change in the very political system that has resulted in a government that seems incapable of governing. The best shot we have of changing that system is a new nonprofit organization called Americans Elect. Americans Elect believes that the “American party system could benefit from some healthy competition.” Amen to that.
The immediate goal of this upstart organization is to use the power of the Internet to create the “first-ever open nominating process” that will allow every eligible American voter to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. It’s an ambitious, but doable goal. Here’s how.
First, you visit and by registering, become a delegate. Then, you decide the issues that matter most to you by answering a series of questions about the economy, education, social issues, healthcare, foreign policy, energy and immigration. By identifying your “true colors,” Americans Elect can match your concerns with like-minded candidates. Then, we – all of us – nominate our choices for the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States in 2012. (Presidential candidates are required to pick a running mate from outside of their party. That alone makes this a refreshing alternative to politics as usual.)
Americans Elect is a serious effort to identify qualified “leadership that will work together to tackle the challenges facing our country” and to allow us to directly shape the issues that we want our candidates to address. They are committed to having a candidate on the presidential ballot in every state in 2012. Americans Elect can accomplish this, and expand to address state and local elections in the future, if we support their efforts now.
We’re more than a year away from the next election and already I’m being solicited for contributions from candidates around the state. Right now, I’m casting my vote for a change in our political system and I’m doing that by becoming a delegate with Americans Elect and by voting with my checkbook. Instead of making contributions to individual candidates, I’m donating to Americans Elect.
Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Politics as usual, in Minnesota and in Washington, D.C., meets this definition. It’s time to try something new.

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