We are not a representative democracy any more. The concentration of power in the funders of campaigns has radically undermined the capacity of Congress to represent us.
The President is the only political leader who could make reforming our crippled and corrupted Congress a priority. Congress won't do it. The courts can't do it. It is up to the President to lead on this issue.
But no President would have a mandate powerful enough to make such a fundamental change unless s/he makes it a primary commitment of his or her administration.
We know that — like 72% of voters — every Democratic candidate for President supports reform. Each of you has committed to small dollar citizen funding of campaigns.
But which of you will commit to making that reform primary? Which of you will give us a reason to believe in government again?
Because the vast majority of us believe our government is bought. And until we change that, the vast majority of us will continue to have no faith in what government can do.
America is not cynical about government because we're cynics. America is cynical because we can see.
Will you commit to fixing our democracy, so we can believe again? And will you make that commitment believable, by making it a primary objective of your administration?
Yes. As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, the American political system has been totally corrupted, and the foundations of American democracy are being undermined.
Not only do I support a constitutional amendment to overturn these disastrous Supreme Court decisions – I introduced the “Democracy is for People” amendment in the Senate that would prevent corporations from bankrolling elections and would make it clear that the ability to make campaign contributions and expenditures - just like the right to vote - belongs only to real people. Moreover, if elected President, I would make opposition to Citizen’s United a litmus test for any Supreme Court nominee.
Our vision for American democracy should be a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, can run for office without begging for contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.
In my first 100 days in office:
I will issue an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending.
I will direct the SEC to require all public companies to disclose their political spending.
I will direct the Federal Communication Commission to create rules for better disclosure on political ads
Over the long term, I believe we need to move toward the public funding of elections.
Absolutely. We have to do everything we can to get unaccountable, dark money out of politics. As president, I’ll push for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision. And I’ll work to appoint justices who care more about a person’s right to vote than a billionaire’s right to buy an election. I’ll also fight for legislation requiring outside groups to disclose significant political spending, and I’ll require federal contractors to do the same.
We need to make it easier for voters to make their voices heard. I’ve proposed a small-donor matching system for presidential and congressional elections. And I’m calling for universal, automatic voter registration so all Americans will be registered to vote when they turn 18, unless they opt out. I believe this would have a profound impact on our elections and our democracy.