We all know big money has a major influence on our elections. Tuesday’s midterms were the most expensive in U.S. history, with an excess of $5 billion poured into every level of our political system. Yet this week we saw another massive influence brewing in our nation: The desire of voters across the nation to assert our political rights to representation and have our voices heard.
Successes Across the Nation
Across the nation, pro-democracy initiatives won major support across both sides of the aisle. Ballot measures to address corruption, dark money, gerrymandering, fair elections and more were passed by citizens in Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, New York and Tennessee.
One initiative especially close to our hearts is Question 2 in Massachusetts, which will establish a nonpartisan citizen commission to advocate for amendments to the Constitution regarding political spending and corporate personhood. This historic measure passed with more than 71 percent of the vote and wins in EVERY city and town across the state. And nine more communities in Wisconsin voted in support of amending the Constitution, bringing the total number of Wisconsin communities that have voted in favor of the amendment to 142.
With all of these initiatives, Americans told our representatives that we are done with corrupt systems that give political power to the wealthy few over the many, and that we are ready to support measures to ensure our voices are heard. The 28th Amendment is needed now more than ever to provide the solid foundation for the continued success of these reforms.
Building Power in Congress
We are building the political power we need in congress to pass the resolution. This week 27 American Promise Pledge signers won new seats in office—where they will support cross-partisan efforts to pass the 28th Amendment. This includes 11 members of the House of Representatives, three state senators, seven state representatives, one state auditor, one secretary of state, the mayor of Alexandria, VA, and two members of the Alexandria, VA, city council.
Republican New York Representative John Katko won victory after calling for the 28th Amendment during his campaign and co-sponsoring it in congress. With more than 200 incoming members of the House in favor the amendment, we’ll have the opportunity to seek a House Judiciary Committee and House floor vote on the 28th Amendment, working with Democratic leadership and Republicans such as Walter Jones and John Katko to seek a cross-partisan vote.
What’s Coming Next
We know the issue we face is monumental. As we saw in this week’s election, those with the means to donate tens or hundreds of millions of dollars continue to use their amassed wealth to influence who represents all of us, every U.S. citizen, in our houses of government. There is no way to deny the growing divide in representation between the “haves” and “have nots” in our political system. This issue is fundamental to our political system, and it is not going to subside on its own. But after yesterday’s election, we are poised for huge successes moving into 2019.
More than 80 percent of Americans of all political persuasions agree that big money in our political system is a problem. Americans have used Constitutional amendments to modernize our political structure 27 times, seven of them specifically to overturn high court decisions. In fact, every generation of Americans has passed amendments to the U.S. Constitution to keep our democracy vital amid changing times—and each amendment era has been fraught with divisiveness and political angst. Now it is our turn to address the biggest systemic threat facing our democracy today: The growing power of big money over people; the growing power of the few over the many.
Our goals for 2019 and beyond are big. We seek nothing less than to assert and guarantee political power for individuals—for the living, breathing people of our nation—instead of big money, special interests and corporations.
Success is critical. It will take all of us—Republicans, Democrats, independents—coming together as citizens to demand a fix to this fissure in the foundation of our political system.
Will you stand with us? Do you believe our nation can be saved with the collective action of concerned citizens? We do. We can do this. Please get involved now—give time, give skills, give money, but get involved. It’s time for the American people to stand up and demand fair representation in our political system. Our democracy was designed to give us this power, but we all have to work together to claim it.