The rest of the country followed Delaware’s lead in ratifying the Constitution. Congress, too, should take its cue from Delaware for its leadership in passing legislation addressing anonymous spending in elections.
Conservative activists in California are promoting a deceptive ballot proposition that would increase the ability of business groups and billionaires to dominate state elections. The measure, Proposition 32, claims to be an even-handed effort at campaign finance reform – but nothing could be further from the truth. Prop. 32 (or “Stop Special Interest Money Now,” as its big money supporters prefer to call it) would cripple the ability of unions to participate in politics, but have little or no impact on unlimited spending by corporate executives and other wealthy individuals.
“Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be constitutional does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional.”
—Tea Party favorite Rand Paul on the Supreme Court decision on the healthcare case 6/28/12
Translated: La Constitution, c’est moi. Call it the Tea Party credo, otherwise reflected by Texas GOP primary winner Ted Cruz’s notion that the only way to get things done in Washington — or in his words, “Take our country back” — is for everyone to adopt his point of view.
I’ve been a small business owner for more than 25 years. So it’s fair to say I’ve been around the block. I also happen to live in the Chicago metro area, so I know a thing or two about hard-nosed politics.
The story of our American democracy has been the fight to make sure that every citizen’s voice is heard; that each of us can claim equal ownership of the government we’ve formed together. But the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has threatened that fundamental notion by allowing secretive special interests to make limitless and secret campaign donations, secret donations then give them an unfair advantage over the average voter.
In his dissenting opinion to the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, now-retired Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”
More than 300 women, a record high, have filed to run for Congress this year, which means a likely gain of female members come November. In addition to greater parity for women--who’ve been chronically underrepresented--more women in Congress could bring another benefit: Less gridlock.
Female senators have a markedly more bipartisan vote record than their male peers do. Moreover, studies in personality research find that women are more cooperative than men, more willing to compromise, more empathetic and, moreover, more polite.
One hundred years ago, the people of Montana raised their voices and voted to close the door on corporate money in politics. On Monday, without even hearing arguments, the Supreme Court kicked the door open, allowing corporate dollars to flood the Treasure State's elections. Lost between the rulings on Arizona’s immigration law and the Affordable Care Act is the most dangerous threat to our democratic process since the Citizens United v. FEC case of 2010 – and few people seem to have noticed.
Another tremor of reform rattled a few political windows in California last week. Whether that portends a full scale quake and the collapse of the fortress the two political parties have erected to keep out invaders remains to be seen.
With last Tuesday’s test of the new open primary system – where all candidates appeared on a single ballot and the top two vote-getters from each district advanced to the general election regardless of party affiliation – California has taken another small step towards more political choice for voters and more accountability and competition for our politicians.
If the Supreme Court chooses to play politics and strikes down the Affordable Care Act, more than just its reputation will be at stake. Many of the commonsense health insurance reforms that Americans have waited to see for more than a century will be lost — including new rules making insurance transparent and accountable.