Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Confidence in the U.S. Congress is at a historic low, more than half of Americans think that the Republican and Democratic parties are doing such a bad job that a third party is needed, and the word “dysfunction” has been common currency in the drawn-out debate over the national debt.
Does this mean the bells are tolling for the Republican-Democratic duopoly which has dominated American political life for more than 150 years?
The answer is yes for a budding political force that aims to get the millions of voters who are disaffected by the present system to bypass the traditional selection of presidential candidates through primary elections.
Instead, the new organization, Americans Elect, says it wants voters “to decide the issues that matter, find candidates to match your views and nominate the President and Vice President directly.”
It’s a novel and extremely ambitious idea, backed by a 50-strong board of advisors that includes business executives, seasoned political operatives and senior former government officials, including ex-FBI director William Webster and former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills. Also on the board: Doug Schoen, a pollster who worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.