American Promise’s strategy to win the 28th Amendment is built upon three critical pillars:
- Amplifying Action: Our distributed, decentralized model supports, connects and amplifies cross-partisan local action by Americans all over the country, driven by our national Citizen UpRising and Civic Courage programming, and our acclaimed National Citizen Leadership Conference;
- Building Consensus: We build national, cross-partisan consensus and determination, vetting and driving forward specific, effective language of the 28th Amendment with our Writing the 28th Amendment program and inviting all Americans into the process; and
- Holding Elected Officials Accountable: We hold federal, state and local elected representatives accountable to ensure that they represent the will of the people for foundational reform through the 28th Amendment, rather than do the bidding of big donors and special interests.
The third pillar is led by the American Promise Candidate Pledge program, through which citizen leaders drive essential political action.
- By signing the American Promise Candidate Pledge, candidates and elected officials pledge on record to use the power of their office to support the 28th Amendment, effectively building the critical support we need in Congress and the states.
- By asking candidates to sign the Pledge, citizen leaders create the opportunity for face-to-face conversations with their elected officials about an issue that’s important to them.
- By electing pledge signers, we build momentum toward passing an amendment through Congress and the states.
Our Strategy Is Working
Thanks to the dedication of citizen leaders last year (our volunteers held more than 130 meetings with elected officials in 2018), more than 250 candidates pledged to support the amendment if elected, including numerous Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Twelve American Promise Candidate Pledge signers were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Last week, Representative Sean Casten of Illinois signed on as co-sponsor of the Democracy for All Amendment, which would overturn Citizens United and limit big money in politics. That makes 12 of 12 Pledge Signers in the House who have now cosponsored the Amendment, making good on their commitment to end the pay-to-play political system.
Join us for the National Citizen Leadership Conference and Lobby Day this October in Washington D.C. We’ll facilitate in-person meetings with your representatives on Capitol Hill, and give you everything you need to have an effective, meaningful discussion.
Legislative wins—local and state resolutions calling for the 28th Amendment—will help us know when we have the critical support of ¾ of the states needed to ratify the amendment. We’re well on our way: More than 800 cities and towns have formally called for the Amendment, and 20 states—more than half the 38 we need to ratify—have passed official state legislation in support of the Amendment.
The Constitution offers two routes to pass an amendment—through Congress or through a convention of state delegates. While American Promise is open to either method, each of the 27 times Americans have amended our Constitution, we’ve done so through Congress. That makes building support in Congress critical, as the Congressional method of passing an amendment requires it to pass ⅔ of both houses of Congress before being presented to the states for ratification.
The Path to Victory
Building support among our divided Congress may seem daunting, but many elected officials support our movement (most despise spending 75% of their time fundraising). Politicians need to know the will of their constituents is behind them. This is why building a cross-partisan, citizen-led movement is so important, and it’s why the Candidate Pledge program works. It’s about Americans across the nation meeting with elected officials, discussing issues, and sharing what’s important to them. It’s the way democracy is supposed to work.
Our state-by-state path to victory makes use of the model of democracy set forth in our Constitution: citizen-led action influencing local elected officials and policy, building to statewide support, building to a citizen-led amendment. Reaching out to talk with county commissioners, state representatives, or your fellow community members—all of these are important and effective ways to help advance our movement and demand political representation for people, not wealthy special interests.
By working with our representatives to stem the tide of big money that threatens to overwhelm our democratic systems, we can create a country where every American is represented, regardless of wealth; where we rule ourselves, without powerful special interests manipulating the system; where elected officials dedicate their time to serving us, their constituents, rather than billionaire special interests; and where the democracy laid out in our democracy is more fully realized.