TOP DOWN DEMOCRACY is a loser and if you doubted it see Americans Elect. David Axelrod once described the efforts as “uber-democracy meets back room bosses.”

From Politico:

The group had qualified for the general election ballot in 27 states, and had generated concern among Democrats and Republicans alike that it could wreak havoc on a close election between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

But just after a midnight deadline Monday, the group acknowledged that its complicated online nominating process had failed to generate sufficient interest to push any of the candidates who had declared an interest in its nomination over the threshold in its rules.

Ken Vogel reports on the big shots fueling the efforts, which include New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Manhattan private equity tycoon Peter Ackerman. Some of the donors to Amercians Elect reportedly gave sums as high as $20 million, though it’s hard to know, because they don’t disclose their donors.

There is a real thirst for an outside effort to compete with Democrats and Republicans, but the Americans Elect model that’s top down, then let’s people pick from the likes of Sens. Joe Lieberman or Lamar Alexander, the worst of the senatorial breeding chamber, with former Gov. Buddy Roemer pleading daily for attention, is not anyone’s idea of an alternative to the big two corporate political parties.

Adding candidates like Ron Paul, who won’t dislodge himself from the Republican party, which could be as much about his son’s future as his own, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders, who isn’t interested, doesn’t make the roster stronger.

Who is Michealene Risley, one of their declared candidates and the second woman to do so after Michele Bachmann? You get a hint through this video…

What will Americans Elect do now? We’ll know after their May 17 meeting. Question is whether anyone really cares. Why anyone would be interested in a bunch on insiders when that’s what the American voter has to choose from already is nonsensical.

However, if I had one question I’d put to Americans Elect insiders I’d ask: Where was the media campaign? Perhaps they should just give it up and nominate the perpetual presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. He’s good at getting his mug on every show there is, he’s known and he might at least make a run of it without further destroying Americans Elect herculean efforts to get on 27 state ballots.

Because what would be a real drag is having yet another outside push to challenge Ds & Rs go bust.

Statement from Americans Elect (emphasis added):

Statement by Americans Elect CEO Kahlil Byrd

Over the past two years, Americans Elect has focused on achieving three clear goals:

Gaining nationwide ballot access for a third presidential ticket to compete in the 2012 race; Holding the first ever nonpartisan secure national online primary at AmericansElect.org; and Fielding a credible, balanced, unaffiliated ticket for the 2012 presidential race.

Through the efforts of thousands of staffers, volunteers, and leadership, Americans Elect has achieved every stated operational goal. Despite these efforts, as of today, no candidate has reached the national support threshold required to enter the “Americans Elect Online Convention” this June. (Read a detailed summary of the AE process here and the full rules here.)

Because of this, under the rules that AE delegates ratified, the primary process would end today. There is, however, an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process.

Every step of the way, AE has conferred with its community before making major decisions. We will do the same this week before determining next steps for the immediate future. AE will announce the results of these conversations on Thursday, May 17.

As always, we thank everyone who has participated in this effort and will honor the work, efforts and trust so many people have placed in Americans Elect.