Corporate money has long polluted American politics. But despite universal agreement that “special interests” shouldn’t buy elections, most Americans don’t think much about campaign finance reform. Compared to hot button issues, corrupt elections have always seemed too far from everyday life, too arcane.
That may be changing. Last year’s Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which now allows unlimited corporate spending on elections, seems to have woken up a sleeping giant.
I notice a lot more chatter among progressive leaders about it — a widespread recognition that without clean elections, we’re unlikely to win any of the hot button issues for which we fight. Polls show that over 80% of Americans think corporate corruption in politics is a major problem. And here in New York, clean elections are back on the policy table, with a large coalition of groups pushing for reform and Governor Cuomo going out on a limb to support the idea.
Now my west coast ally Gideon Rosenblatt, formerly executive director of ONE/Northwest (now Groundwire) has penned an article for the Huffington Post arguing that fighting for clean elections isn’t just a political necessity, but huge political opportunity. I think he’s right on. His money quote:
“As leaders in the fight to drive money out of politics, progressives have an opportunity to redefine themselves as restorers of American democracy.”
Or, as I might phrase it, “If progressives fight for clean elections, we can restore America’s greatness — and our rightful claim on patriotism and democracy.”
Thanks for a great articulation of an important idea, Gideon!