What Will This Amendment Do?
Like those who founded our nation, American Promise envisions a society of free people with equal rights who live and govern together in pursuit of peace and happiness. We envision a society that respects the freedom and dignity of individuals, yet also appreciates the tremendous benefits of social cooperation. And we envision a society where money and wealth do not trump the political equality of each and every person.
The For Our Freedom Amendment aims to bring American life closer to that vision. After the amendment is ratified, we believe that our country will see several positive changes:
The American people won’t have to sit back and watch as financial power purchases political power. We and our legislators will once again have the freedom to enact laws meant to reduce the role of money in politics. For example, if residents of a State wish to prevent foreign or out-of-state money from dominating their elections, they will have the freedom to pass new campaign finance laws. If Congress wishes to set limits on the amount of money that candidates can spend in an election, they will have the freedom to test new regulations. Congress and the States will not be required to pass any particular laws, but they will be far less constrained in their ability to experiment with new systems.
The Supreme Court won’t serve as the nation’s money-in-politics regulator. The amendment recognizes that the regulation of campaign finance involves multiple compelling interests that should be considered and balanced by the American people. It allows us and our elected officials to experiment, exercise our judgment, revise, and adapt laws to changing circumstances.
We won’t need another constitutional amendment to fix misguided campaign finance laws. After the For Our Freedom amendment is ratified, there are sure to be some campaign finance laws that end up having negative effects and unintended consequences. Such laws will, of course, be subject to change through the normal push-and-pull of the legislative process. Contrast that to the situation now, where if the Supreme Court creates a campaign finance rule with bad consequences, the only fix is a constitutional amendment. Simply put, the For Our Freedom makes it easier for us to learn from our mistakes and try something new.
Campaigns will become less powered by money and more powered by social capital. Suppose a State chooses to limit election expenditures to reduce the role of money in those elections. In such a jurisdiction, candidates would face new incentives while campaigning. Instead of spending countless hours cultivating potential big-money supporters (who are often not even constituents), candidates would have a greater incentive to connect with community leaders and their actual constituents. Instead of granting disproportionate access and influence to the wealthy, candidates would seek to connect with everyday people who can turn up and vote.
Americans will protect their elections against foreign meddling. American democracy is a perennial target of foreign actors and governments who seek to diminish our global strength and social solidarity. By giving Congress and the States much greater flexibility to regulate money-in-politics, the For Our Freedom amendment recognizes that the foreign actors seeking to pump money into our elections usually don’t have Americans’ best interests at heart.