When an overwhelming majority of Americans–regardless of their political leanings–in poll after poll show that they are sick of the campaign funding system we have, suspicious of the government it creates, critical of the ‘Citizens United’ ruling, and supportive of a Constitutional Amendment to start to fix all of this…
Town Meeting’s upcoming vote on Article 23 is about the most un-controversial action we can take!
Though the policies and the legalese can become complex, at the end of the day, the issue is simple: corporations–economic entities with a legalistic ‘personhood’ structure–are not people, and are not protected by the Bill of Rights.
When the highest bidder can buy our elections, your single vote counts less and less. Our ability to decide what we want for our town–our local control of our priorities and values–is undermined at the very foundation.
Our forefathers left England to escape a system where the aristocracy controlled everyone’s fates. But we have allowed that same scenario to be recreated in our campaign financing system, and Citizens United just made it worse.
The politicians who are now enslaved to the corrupting system cannot be relied on to advance the changes we need. It has to start with the People.
Let’s do this!
See you Monday.
“Money in politics is not a distraction from the economy, it is the economy.”
New poll, findings as summarized by CampaignMoney.org
- Money in politics is not a distraction from the economy, it is the economy. For ordinary Americans, this is not an either/or proposition; it is not question of addressing money in politics at the expense of talking about pocketbook problems. Voters believe that Washington is so corrupted by big banks, big donors, and corporate lobbyists that it no longer works for the middle class.
- Voters feel strongly about reducing the influence of big money in politics and there is broad-based support to alternatives to the current system. Voters are supportive of small-donor matching systems with limited public financing and support common sense restrictions on what corporations and wealthy donors can spend on politics.
- Voters will strongly support candidates — from both political parties — who seize this issue. Voters do not currently trust either party to tackle money in politics. All voters, and swing voters in particular, strongly support candidates who are willing to take on money in politics as a serious campaign issue. In fact, more than a third of all voters make this a litmus test for their support.
See more here.
Many people look on successful candidates as being bought and paid for by whomever gave the most money.
To make representative government work the way the framers designed it, elected officials must owe their allegiance to the people,
not to the wealth of groups who speak only for selfish fringes of the whole community.
The public does not have any doubt about the power of money.
Every poll taken shows that the vast majority of Americans believe campaign spending is a very serious problem and that those who contribute large sums of money have too much influence over the government.
Our nation is facing a crisis of liberty if we do not control campaign expenditures.
We must prove that elective office is not for sale.
We must convince the public that elected officials are what James Madison intended us to be, agents of the sovereign people, not the hired hands of rich givers.
A Conservative Voice for Reform from Battles Past
68% of Republicans
82% of Independents
87% of Democrats
—would support a Constitutional Amendment that would overturn the Citizens United decision and make clear that corporations do not have the same rights as people.
Addressing these key questions of our democracy is not a partisan issue. It’s a “We the People” issue.
In this inspiring and provocative essay, author Theo Anderson explores the similarities between the push to reform campaign financing and overturn Citizens United, and the suffragette movement of the early 20th century. Read the whole piece here, or an abridged version below:
In truth, the momentum for reversing Citizens United was never going to come from the White House, much less from Congress. Both are too deeply enmeshed in the system to invest much effort in reforming it.
The energy to defeat the ruling will come, if it comes from anywhere, from old-fashioned grassroots activism. And on that front, the outlook is more promising than you might guess. There’s good news and bad news, and some more good news.
The first piece of good news is that Citizens United isn’t a partisan issue: a substantial majority of voters favor imposing limits on the influence of money and lobbyists in American politics (poll).
The bad news is that reversing Citizens United is only the first step if we’re serious about addressing corruption in American politics. To believe that reversing the ruling a panacea is to believe that “our democracy was fine and Citizens United broke it.
But of course, the democracy was already broken,” as Lawrence Lessig, who directs the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, has observed. He argues that the Left and the Right can agree that the influence of money is a major reason for the corruption of our politics, and calls for them to join forces and replace the current system with public financing and limited private donations.
The second piece of good news is that there is a well-marked path toward achieving both the immediate goal of overturning Citizens United and the broader goal of replacing our current system of campaign finance. It involves building on the accomplishments of campaigns at the state and local levels.
Building on state-level activism and incremental progress – with the ultimate aim of passing a constitutional amendment that addresses both Citizens United and the general corruption of our politics – has an important precedent. It was the strategy used by the woman suffrage movement a century ago, at a time when passing an amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote seemed about as likely as purging corruption from our politics seems today.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post today, Steven Pearlstein argues that despite the reasonableness and moderateness of the American electorate, the increasing polarization of our politics has hit a fever pitch. Candidates are more extreme and less able to compromise. Why? Pearlstein argues it is because of campaign financing:
Public opinion polls consistently report that Americans aren’t happy with these developments — they don’t like partisanship or gridlock — and that their views on issues are closer to the center than to the extreme positions in either party.
And it’s not just the voters. Politicians themselves are frustrated at not being able to get things done; they chafe at their loss of independence and public respect; they loathe the endless fundraising needed to wage unending partisan warfare.
So if voters and politicians don’t like it, why does this polarization persist?
Something fundamental seems to have changed in the political marketplace. The winning strategy is no longer to be more moderate than your opponent, to offer a bigger tent. Instead, it is to be more zealous and committed to your party’s ideology.
This transformation has its roots in what has become the dominant reality of American politics: the arms race in campaign finance.
Candidates and parties now raise and spend enormous sums, well beyond what would reasonably be needed to provide for a well-informed electorate and well beyond what is raised and spent in other advanced democracies.
These days, the average Senate candidate raises and spends $9 million to win election, which works out to slightly more than $4,000 for each day of a six-year term.
For the average House candidate, it’s $1.4 million, or just under $2,000 per day in office (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). These sums are several times what they were 25 years ago.
Read the rest of at the Washington Post.