Better for America

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Better for America
Formation2016; 4 years ago (2016)
FoundersJohn Kingston III, Joel Searby
Legal statusInactive
FocusBallot Access for 2016 Presidential Election
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, U.S.
Key people
John Kingston III (Chair)
Anne MacDonald (Executive Director)
Joel Searby (Chief Strategy Officer)

Better for America (BFA) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that was dedicated to getting nationwide ballot access for an independent candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election.[1] The effort was inspired by the unpopularity of the two major party nominees, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and was seen as part of the Stop Trump movement.[2]

The organization's initial strategy was to gain ballot access in states that do not require a candidate to be named, and then name its candidate after the major party conventions.[1] The candidate was planned to be named by an advisory board rather than through traditional primary elections, or through a crowdsourcing effort like the failed Americans Elect effort in the 2012 election.[3] On August 8, 2016, it was reported that Evan McMullin, an anti-Trump Republican and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official, would be Better for America's nominee.[4][5][6] McMullin was officially nominated on August 24.[7]

In July, the organization filed petitions in two states, New Mexico[1] and Arkansas.[8] By early August, Arkansas had accepted the petition,[9] while New Mexico had rejected the petition because it did not have enough valid signatures,[6] although the New Mexico decision was challenged in court.[10] On August 22, the organization announced that it was ceasing further ballot access efforts.[11] On September 8, the New Mexico Secretary of State reversed his decision and placed Better For America on the ballot.[12]

Notable people involved in the organization include conservative donor John Kingston III and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman.[3] Lawrence Lessig and Randy Barnett expressed their support for the organization in a Time opinion piece.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Mandel, Bethany; Marcus, David (July 8, 2016). "Independent Presidential Candidate Lands On First Ballot". The Federalist. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  2. ^ Haberman, Maggie (June 14, 2016). "Conservative Donor's Group Presses Ballot Access for a Third-Party Candidate". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Singer, Paul (June 27, 2016). "Trump foes try to create a ballot spot for a challenger-to-be-named". USA Today. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  4. ^ Haberman, Maggie (August 8, 2016). "Evan McMullin, Anti-Trump Republican, Is Said to Plan Independent Presidential Bid". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  5. ^ Coppins, McKay (August 8, 2016). "Anti-Trump Republican Launching Independent Presidential Bid". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Winger, Richard (August 8, 2016). "Better for America Finds a Presidential Nominee". Ballot Access News. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  7. ^ Winger, Richard (August 24, 2016). "Better for America Formally Nominates Evan McMullin for President | Ballot Access News". Ballot Access News. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Moritz, John (August 2, 2016). "State ballot draws independents; candidates, groups petition for spots in presidential contest". Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  9. ^ Winger, Richard (August 10, 2016). "Better for America Petition in Arkansas is Valid". Ballot Access News. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  10. ^ Oxford, Andrew (August 16, 2016). "Group seeks minor-party status to get spot on N.M. ballot". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  11. ^ Winger, Richard (August 22, 2016). "Better for America Ends its Ballot Access Petitioning | Ballot Access News". Ballot Access News. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  12. ^ Winger, Richard (September 8, 2016). "Better for America Qualifies for Party Status in New Mexico". Ballot Access News. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  13. ^ Barnett, Randy E.; Lessig, Lawrence (August 3, 2016). "The Real Reason You Can't Vote for an Independent Candidate". Time. Retrieved August 8, 2016.

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