Across the Parties, Americans are United on One Thing: Getting Money Out of Politics
A recent study from the University of Maryland shows widespread support for limiting the influence of big campaign donors—and passing a constitutional amendment to do so.
Nearly all Americans agree: The influence of money on our government is far too great. And while this issue is often portrayed through a partisan lens, a recent study finds this sentiment is shared across parties—a full 88 percent of Americans “see it as important to reduce or counterbalance the influence of big campaign donors on the Federal government,” according to the results.
The study, released this month by the University of Maryland, found that 92 percent of Democrats, 86 percent of Independents and 84 percent of Republicans agree.
GETTING MONEY OUT
It makes sense that this would be one issue not divided down partisan lines. In the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations can spend as much money as they want on political advertising. As this decision has played out throughout the American political landscape, it’s incentivized politicians to pander to wealthy donors, who are able to fund campaigns for election and re-election. Candidates who benefit corporations get more airtime while those who challenge “Big Money” are either denounced or ignored. The interests of the new self-selected donor class are often at odds with the interests of the citizenry and the country as a whole. More and more, public needs and the national interest are being neglected. Americans want their elected officials to represent them—not corporations. They want politicians to consult their constituents—not their checkbooks.
“The problem has been a long time coming, but Citizens United brought the crisis to a head,” Jeff Clements, President of American Promise, wrote in a HuffPost column. “In 2010, the court ruled that corporations, unions and those with vast wealth have ‘free speech’ rights to spend unlimited money and override the rights of all Americans.”
PASSING THE 28th AMENDMENT
American Promise was formed by a group of citizens with the goal of supporting the will of the American people in getting money out of politics. We believe the most effective way of achieving this goal will be to produce a 28th amendment to the Constitution—and such an amendment has support across the political spectrum as well. The University of Maryland study found that 75 percent of Americans support an amendment that would allow Congress and the states to place limits on monetary contributions that are intended to influence elections, including 85 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Independents and 66 percent of Republicans.
Despite national rhetoric that paints campaign-finance reform as a largely Democratic priority, getting money out of politics is not a partisan issue, and neither is passing an amendment to do so. But if we leave the choice in the hands of Congress and do not make our voices heard, our elected officials will allow the status quo to continue and the influence of Big Money will only grow.
We need citizens across the political spectrum to work together if we want to limit the undue influence that wealthy corporations and individuals hold on our government. We need to make our representatives accountable to us. We need to reclaim the American Promise of human liberty, equal citizenship, and government by the people. And we have the numbers to make it happen.