A government of, for, and by the people is not for sale and gives each citizen equal voting rights.
Yet in the US today, one person, one vote is no longer meaningful. Our voices--those of average American citizens--are being drowned out by big money and special and corporate interests. Millionaires and billionaires wield undue influence and power over the system and have corrupted our politics. Congress should not be for sale. Our representatives should be working for us, the American people. Sadly, this is not the case.
We must reclaim our democracy, reform our political institutions, and push back against the attempts to undermine them.
Taking back the house in 2018 is the only way, but this won’t be easy. Voter suppression, fake news, and outright lies remain very effective tools used against the people.
Getting Money Out of Politics and Putting an End to Legalized Bribery and Corruption
The entire US political system is corrupted by big money and rigged to serve the powerful and well-connected. Getting money out of the equation is a crucial step to reclaiming democracy and enacting policies favored by the American people.
From healthcare to climate action, to tax and economic policy, to gun reform, money has such a corrupting influence that Congress does not represent the will of the people or pursue the change that constituents want. Money in politics affects every single issue. It is not only harmful to our democracy but also to our people and our communities. This system of legalized bribery and corruption must be confronted and defeated. "The solution is to fix our government so all citizens are represented equally."
Inevitably, politicians represent the interests of the tiny, wealthy elite who finance their political campaigns. In these 2018 mid-term elections, the Koch brothers have vowed to put up $400 million to fund candidates willing to do their bidding.
The corrupting influence of money pre-dated the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision that further opened the floodgates to even bigger money and the acceptance of dark money in campaign financing by lifting controls on independent political spending by corporations and special interests. The ramifications of this decision have been disastrous. Super-wealthy individuals seized control of government policy through their bought and paid-for candidates with greater ease. With their bottomless supply of money, they can spend as much as it takes to get their way, and their greed has no limits. We must fight this if we want to remain a democracy. This will not stop until we make changes at the ballot box. As Senator Bernie Sanders often says, they have the money, but we have the people. Our vote is our best weapon.
Money is not speech, and corporations are not people, and the repeal of Citizens United is an absolute must. but it does not go far enough. It should be part of a broader, more comprehensive campaign finance reform to get money out of politics.
Not only does money buy influence, but it also buys positions in the current administration. Many voters were duped. Trump was never going to drain the swamp. Nominating a Dow Chemical executive to oversee hazardous waste at the Environmental Protection Agency can in no way be construed as a desire to drain the swamp. Conflict of interest would a vast understatement.
Saving democracy from the influence of money requires us to:
end pay-to-play politics
demand transparency and accountability in government,
overturn Citizens United, and
enable fair and free elections--free from corruption, control by the economic elite, and influence of money, period. This means:
banning big money and
enacting a system of publicly-funded elections. (Many organizations are working in this direction. Wolf-PAC is dedicated to getting a national convention for a 28th amendment to the constitution through the states.)
Strengthening Voting Rights and Ending Unfair Redistricting
For our democracy to function as intended, all citizens eligible to vote should enjoy easy, full, and equal access to voting. Today these voting rights are being threatened. Not only is money a problem in the American electoral system, but voter suppression is as well. Voter suppression takes multiple forms from making it more difficult to vote to outright disenfranchisement.
There is increasing awareness of the Republican strategy to erode voters' rights through different forms of voter suppression and discrimination.
barriers such as requiring proof of citizenship (disenfranchising citizens who don't carry documentation in their back pocket) or proof of domicile (to discourage college students),
voter ID laws which especially affect minority communities, young people, and low-income adults (13% or Blacks and 10% of Hispanics lack photo ID, compared to 5% of Whites),
reductions to early voting,
elimination of same-day registration,
closure of polling places (causing confusion, longer travel distances, and waiting lines of election day),
unjustified purges of voter rolls.
Many of these laws are designed to keep particular populations that lean Democrat from the polls and are justified by unfounded claims of voter fraud. Nearly 100 bills have been introduced in 33 states in just over a year in order to restrict voting access.
In addition, gerrymandering is more than problematic in that it is effectively a system in which the politicians now choose their voters. This unfair, unrepresentative drawing of voting maps distorts the electoral system and is an effective way of robbing people of their voice. We must adopt a non-partisan, independent drawing of districts so that voters can fairly choose their representatives and not the other way around.
In an electoral democracy, voting should be easy and all votes should count the same. Some states like California are instituting automatic registration systems. If politicians have good ideas and intentions to represent the people, what do they have to be afraid of?
Making voting easier, rather than harder, so that all voices are heard requires:
strengthening the law to protect voting rights including reinstating parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,
making voting systems secure, reliable, and verifiable,
preventing intimidation and deceitful tactics spreading falsehoods to keep people away from the polls,
reforming the redistricting process and putting a stop to partisan gerrymandering,
modernizing voter registration systems including same-day, online, and automatic registration at the DMV,
shielding elections from foreign interference,
making election day a national or voting on weekends as in all other well-functioning Western democracies.
Restoring US democracy
- Corporations are not people, and money is not speech. The wealthy and corporations wield too much power and influence. Money has corrupted our politics and endangers our Democracy.
- We must unrig the system and get big money out of politics.
- It’s time to repeal Citizens United and to enact true campaign finance reform.
- Voting should be made easier. Instead, we are forced to fight growing GOP voter suppression.
- We must put a stop to GOP gerrymandering. This rigs the system against the people. Voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.
**If you would like to get involved and participate in restoring democracy, here is a list of organizations that you might like to check out, all doing good work to fix our broken system.