DeRosa agrees that all the polls are finding enormous voter dissatisfaction with the two major parties. "It's a piece of evidence that people are looking for an alternative," he says.
According to Wachtel, the Americans Elect group has already managed to get on the ballot in 16 states including biggies like California, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida.
A lawyer working for Americans Elect was in contact with Connecticut elections officials last month about starting a petition drive to get the 7,500 verified signatures of registered voters needed to achieve a ballot spot in this state. (DeRosa says you need more than 12,500 signatures to be sure of qualifying because so many names are thrown out for various reasons.)
"I think we're going to do it," Wachtel says of the goal of a ballot spot in all 50 states.
"It's the perfect time for a third choice to emerge," Wachtel insists.
She points out that the primaries in both major parties tend to force candidates to play to the extremes in order to win their nominations, then have to scramble back to the center for the general election. Most political analysts agree that Republicans have to kowtow to far right-wing GOP primary voters, while Democrats must suck up to the lefties who tend to dominate Democratic presidential primary voting.
"A majority of people want a solutions-based leader… not someone pandering to the extremes of their party," Wachtel says.
That's not necessarily an argument that sways politically angry, disenchanted activists like those in the Occupy movement.
"I don't think the solution to the Republicans and the Democrats is a centrist party," says Strong. He argues that approach fails to get to the deep-set problems involving the concentration of wealth and corporate greed and power represented by Wall Street.
"I wouldn't see that as a solution," Strong says, "and I would hope other Occupy folks wouldn't see it as a solution."
Defenders of the major parties often label serious independent candidates as "spoilers" who simply suck votes away from either the Republican or Democrat, helping to elect someone a majority of people really didn't want.
"We have seen [a third party candidate] be a spoiler at different levels," says state Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo. She says John Rowland (the guy who later resigned in disgrace and went to federal prison) may well have won the 1994 governor's race because it was a three-way contest.
DiNardo says she very much doubts Lieberman could be pursuaded to run a third-party candidacy, but reluctantly concedes he "could have an impact in Connecticut" if he were to be a candidate. She sounds far less worried about how much of a vote-vacuum other potential Americans Elect candidates might prove in this state.
DeRosa has an answer to the argument that people should vote for the "lesser of two evils" available from the Democrats and Republicans rather than allegedly wasting a vote on an independent candidate:
"My attitude is, if you elect the lesser of two evils, you still have evil."
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