At the most recent Democratic presidential debate, several candidates addressed an issue on the majority of Americans’ minds: political corruption and big money in politics. The discussion came on the heels of four debates where democracy reforms received practically no air time.
In an op-ed in The Globe Post, American Promise Citizen Empowerment Coordinator Kimberly Clinch says the attention these issues received during the fifth debate is notable, but candidates must go beyond promises and commit to action should they be elected. American Promise is calling on all presidential candidates, regardless of party, to sign the American Promise Candidate Pledge and commit to advancing a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United and help get big money out of politics.
So far, 13 current and former 2020 presidential candidates have signed the pledge. While the president does not play a functional role in passing an amendment, the president does set the national agenda. If a sitting president called for the amendment, it could significantly grow awareness of this critical solution and make it a priority in Congress. As Kimberly writes: “The American people are telling candidates for public office that political corruption is a critical 2020 issue. Those who hope to win election and re-election should support substantive, meaningful ways to address the foundation of reform, starting with a constitutional amendment and then furthering this crucial issue once in office.”
Big money’s political influence is clear—studies show the public’s opinion on any policy has a near-zero effect on its chances of being passed, while the wishes of economic elites are much more likely to be reflected in policy decisions. The domination of our elections by ultra-wealthy donors, corporations, big unions, and special interests has been sanctioned by the Supreme Court, making politicians more responsive to big money forces and less responsive to their constituents. A constitutional amendment will help get our system back on track and put power in the hands of we the people.