The 2016 presidential campaign early fundraising totals rolled in earlier this month, breaking records, but shocking no one.
While many Americans feel discouraged by the amount of money in politics, most candidates have accepted millions from wealthy donors and only paid lip-service to the idea that big money donors are drowning out the voices of the rest of us. Candidates are promising to fight the corrupt system of billionaire influences and dark money, but have yet to commit to plans that will get the job done.
Common Cause and an assortment of allied groups pressed the candidates today to do more, releasing “Fighting Big Money, Empowering Voters: A 21st Century Democracy Agenda,” a comprehensive set of policy proposals. Candidates endorsing this initiative will send a message that they are dedicated to creating a democracy that serves all Americans.
As a young adult preparing to vote in the 2016 election, it’s important to me that candidates hear the voices of all voters, even those who cannot afford to bankroll a substantial portion of a campaign. By supporting this agenda and pushing back against big money through campaign finance reforms, including public financing of elections, stronger disclosure laws, and the overturning of Citizens United, candidates would show that they are committed to building an America that cares about individual citizens.
It’s a sad day when we must ask our presidential candidates to support such common-sense initiatives to lift up the concerns of the American people. But I’m convinced no real change will occur until we voice our discontent and ask the candidates in the 2016 election to endorse the 21st Century Democracy Agenda.
It’s time to remind the 2016 presidential candidates that they are running to serve a government of, by and for the people.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics