Tackling Big Money in Politics With the For the People Act
There are a lot of priorities on the agenda for the new administration and Congress, but we’re laser focused on putting our democracy back together again during the first 100 days of the Biden Administration.
One of the main ways we can get that ball rolling is by passing the For the People Act, a bold democracy strengthening bill that would put power back where it belongs: in the hands of voters.
For the next three weeks, we’ll get into how this legislation would fix three big problems that stand in the way of progressive power:
- The outsized influence of big donors on our politics
- Corruption amongst our elected officials
- The need to get more people involved in our democracy
Then, we’ll give you meaningful ways to support the For the People Act and get your friends and neighbors involved.
Ready? Let’s get into it!
💸 BIG MONEY IN OUR POLITICS 💸
After the Watergate scandal, Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974, which strictly limited how much money a person or corporation could donate to any one political candidate or party.
But 10 years ago, the Supreme Court overturned nearly half a century’s worth of precedent when it decided Citizens United, a devastating ruling that completely eroded our existing laws that limit who can fund campaigns and how much they can spend. It paved the way for a small group of wealthy, white elites to give unlimited donations to SuperPACs in support of politicians they believe will fight for their personal interests — not for the common good.
That’s one reason why our elected officials continue to be mostly wealthy white men — they can raise far more from this group of big donors, who also happen to be nearly all wealthy white men. And eight times out of ten, the candidate running with the most financial backing behind them wins the race.
Not only does the current system affect who runs and who wins, it really determines what becomes law. Our electeds spend hours each day fundraising from wealthy donors, leaving a lot less time to advocate on our behalf and skewing what policies they think are important. Policies like raising the minimum wage to $15 or climate justice legislation are often unpopular with those wealthy donors, which is why they become much less likely to be priorities for your elected officials, who need to secure their political funding from that same, small group of people.
The bottom line: Our political system is designed to prioritize what most rich and powerful donors want, keeping wealthy white men in office and women and candidates of color out in the process.
But what if candidates didn’t need a deep network of rich friends to tap into to win elections? What if candidates came from the communities that need the most help and actually reached out to ordinary voters in their communities for support? What if those ordinary voters could have a bigger voice?
What if we could make politics look a lot less like this?: 👨🏻💼👨🏼💼👨🏻💼👨🏼💼
We can. The For the People Act would be a huge step in opening the door for new candidates.
The For the People Act would turbocharge smaller donations from constituents, giving newer, more diverse candidates a fighting chance in their elections. In a nutshell, it would allocate $6 of public funds for every dollar you give to your candidate of choice, amplifying the power of your donation.
Fixing our broken political system would also give elected officials more time to spend with their constituents instead of chasing huge donors. Your voice would finally get a chance to be heard.
Does all that sound good to you? The For the People Act was just reintroduced in the House of Representatives last month. Your elected officials are making up their minds now. Take a moment to take action and apply some pressure:
Next week, we’ll go over how the For The People Act can help make sure we don’t see another corrupt president like Trump in the White House ever again.