The cause of restoring American democracy demands more than just new laws or new norms — we need a new rationale, not only for legal purposes, but also for public understanding of the problem and solutions.
Any attempt to directly limit the participation of corporate lobbyists in the political process runs immediately into the practical problem that efforts to limit political influence have always encountered. If corporations (and other actors) are determined to influence the political process, they will find a way. If the history of political influence regulation has taught us anything, it should be this: those determined to participate in the political process will find ways to do so.
Many election finance reformers focus on spending limits, but encouraging small donors might be a more realistic—and fairer—option.
In the five years since the Citizens United decision, the campaign-finance reform movement has worked its way through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and now, finally, acceptance.
This emerging state of acceptance is making room for some new approaches: What if America stops focusing on containment ...
The traditional approach to reducing the influence of economic inequality on democracy has been to limit those fat checks, by capping individual contributions, the total amount one person can give to campaigns, or outside spending intended to influence elections. It is those limits -- enacted into law after Watergate, and after the "soft money" scandals of the late 1990s -- that have been weakened by recent Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United and McCutcheon.
What if we consider an alternative approach? Instead of trying to limit money, and failing -- let's empower everyone. What if everyone could write a check, not necessarily a fat one, but enough that, together with others, it could make it possible for people to run who don't have ...
In the five years since the Citizens United decision, the campaign-finance reform movement has worked its way through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and now, finally, acceptance. This emerging state of acceptance is making room for some new approaches: What if America stops focusing on containment, and starts focusing on empowerment? What if America stops focusing on limits, and starts focusing on opportunities?
Good politics might be described as the art of cloaking your special interest in the general interest. But when you become the symbol of big money in politics, it is very hard to pull off this sleight of hand.
But Money Matters More Than Ever
Money is now an independent force, unaccountable to voters, candidates or parties. “I approve this message,” often adorned with “because” and a slogan, has become so familiar that it’s an easy joke, symbolizing the idea that the candidate is accountable for his campaign.
But why? Is it just the superficiality of life in the Kardashian era? Is it that politicians have run out of ideas? No – as with so much else in modern politics, it’s deeply and directly related to the fact that the two political parties are now completely divided, with ...
In a Google Hangout this week, New America’s Mark Schmitt and Katherine Mangu-Ward, Managing Editor at Reason, weighed in on tough issues ranging from dark money’s influence on elections to the real impact of Citizens United v F.E.C., and McCutcheon v F.E.C.. Don’t worry if you missed it the first time around: watch the full conversation to find out what these experts have to say about the future of campaign finance.
Experts at New America’s Political Reform Program and Markets, Enterprise and Resiliency Initiative have been closely following McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. Following this morning’s Supreme Court ruling striking down overall limits on political campaign contributions, New America experts shared their thoughts.