As the 2012 presidential primary season kicked off, we decided to crash the party. We hopped in a bus and drove from New York to New Hampshire for the primary there, then down the East Coast, crashing the South Carolina and Florida primaries too. Then we turned back north, and set our sights on Washington, DC. Throughout the trip we met Americans from all walks of life who are tired of feeling like their voices aren’t being heard, and we took our message straight to the candidates to ask them for their thoughts on our movement to bring more options and more competition to the two party system. The insiders were skeptical, but most people were excited by the idea that Americans Elect empowers voters with the ability to pick a president, not a party.
See more photos, videos and blog posts from our Crash the Party Bus Tour below!
The bus on campus at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.
Now that our tour is done, we thought we’d share some of the impressive stats from our 33 days on the road.
• Traveled through 11 states, 23 cities, and over 4,000 miles.
• Crashed the party at three presidential primaries, four GOP debates, and eight primary night watch parties.
• Spread the word about Americans Elect at four Occupy protests, 13 colleges and universities, and two high schools.
• Produced 37 videos, including:
- This election is a three way race. Who will you choose?
- AE Delegate Leader Profile: “I can’t tell you how great it feels” to be a part of Americans Elect
- Florida Primary voters head to the polls: “A lot of voters feel like they settle.”
- AE Campus Leader Profile: “I feel I’m not represented at all.”
• And made over 200 posts to Tumblr!
We did it!
After 33 days on the road, the Crash the Party tour bus arrived to its final destination - New York City. We posed for pictures with the bus along with the team from LBi, the marketing company that helped create Americans Elect’s brand and website, and help organize our tour.
The bus team, from left to right: Erin, Drew, Kerry, Dave, Dan, Nick, Holli, Jenevieve, Kameron and Michael. (Drew and Michael rode with us from DC to NY. Dan, our content manager, spent a bunch of days with us in New Hampshire and South Carolina.)
It’s been an amazing experience for all of us on the bus, and hopefully for the many people we met along the way as well. As we often said on the bus, “Yay, politics!”
We arrived in New York City on our last stop of the tour to a sea of people - Giants fans, to be exact. While we were not actually *in* the Giants’ Superbowl parade, we spent some time parked not far from the end of the parade route to talk to New Yorkers about Americans Elect and crash the celebration happening all around us.
”We certainly need a third presence on the ballot in the presidential election,” delegate Lee Mortimer told us at a meetup in Durham, North Carolina. All over the East Coast, we’ve been meeting people on college campuses, on city streets and at meetups who tell us they believe that our two-party system is broken and they’re ready for a new option in choosing a presidential candidate.
"My hope [for Americans Elect] would be that the American people would be able to see that it really is possible to choose a third option," Lee said.
We also spoke with Steve Crause, another delegate who attended our meetup. “It doesn’t really take much to come out like I did tonight,” he said about growing public interest in Americans Elect. “Just open your mind, inquire. We know there’s a problem, so let’s look for a solution.”
Americans Elect is the first ever national online primary. It allows the American people to put their choice for president directly on to the ballot nationwide. During our Crash the Party Bus Tour we asked voters from across the country and the political spectrum who they’d like to see as a third option on the 2012 presidential ballot. This is what they told us.
"I’m an independent," explains Cody Davis, NC State Campus Leader for Americans Elect. "I don’t believe in political parties, so I feel I am not represented at all."
We met up with Cody and his service dog Bingo when we came through North Carolina during our Crash the Party Bus Tour. He says Bingo helps to attract new AE delegates.
Cody learned about Americans Elect from our appearance on the Colbert Report, but said that he thought something like this needed to be done even before he saw the program. Now he’s involved on the local and college level, helping to spread the word about Americans Elect.
"We don’t have to settle anymore," says Americans Elect Campus Leader Luke Shuffield.
He says that once you get people talking about their frustrations with Washington, whether they’re Republicans, Democrats, or independents, it’s not hard to get them interested in Americans Elect.
We caught up with the Duke University student when our Crash the Party Bus Tour came through North Carolina. “Once you get college students engaged, they’re usually a pretty passionate group,” he said.
Hello, New York! We are out and about in Bryant Park today, where Kameron and Kerry met up with Mai Ali and Ahmed Mahmoud. The dual-citizenship couple said they were skeptical of politicians in general, but responded positively towards the mission of Americans Elect. Mai said, “Oh wow, that makes sense!”
Today we’re crashing the party at the New York Giants Super Bowl Parade in NYC!
Pic: Flickr CC / PrettyKateMachine