What Will Your Candidates Do For Democracy?
Will your candidates promote democracy?
Democracy is on the ballot in 2018 — and voter’s voices will be what makes difference.
Americans expect and deserve a healthy and functioning democracy. But that is not what they have been getting from the current Congress which refuses hearings on important proposed pro-democracy legislation like protecting every American’s right to vote and requiring disclosure of the anonymous big-money donors funding the secret money groups. Those are the groups you can thank every time you see an attack ad on your television set.
The 2018 election is extremely important for the future of our democracy. In just the last decade, our nation’s great experiment in self-governance has been challenged with limitations on voting rights (as the Supreme Court struck down key parts of the Voting Rights Act, and Congress refuses to update this landmark civil rights legislation), rampant gerrymandering of congressional districts, and the evisceration of most rules preventing the influence of special interest money in politics (particularly after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision).
Congress is key to protecting, and advancing, our democracy, and voters must know what their Congressional candidates will do if elected. Public comments, candidate website information and media coverage of their campaigns are one thing, but direct statements from candidates, with yes or no answers to specific questions, cuts through the static and cannot be misinterpreted or spun.
That’s why voters should expect every candidate for Congress to tell voters how they will defend and strengthen American democracy. To help voters get those answers, we’ve sent a survey to every candidate for U.S. Congress asking: if elected, will you promote, advocate and champion key reforms that strengthen democracy? These key reforms will get big money out of politics, protect and expand voting rights, and ensure all elected officials are held to high ethical standards.
More than 350 candidates have already gone on the record – Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians, incumbents and challengers alike. To those that have told their voters where they stand on key democracy reforms, we thank you for being transparent and clear with the voters in your district. And for those candidates that haven’t yet responded, what are you waiting for? Democracy is not a partisan issue. Huge majorities of voters — across the ideological and partisan divide — support reforms that get big special interest money out of politics, increase the transparency by showing who is funding TV and digital ads, and want to see voting rights protected.
Fittingly, as the ultimate power in a democracy rests with the people, it will be the voice of the voters that will make sure candidates go on the record. On our survey website at Democracy2018.org, we list candidates that have responded to the questionnaire — their answers and any additional comments they made – and those who have remained silent. Voters can type in their address to get a list of their candidates — and their candidates’ answers.
It’s also important to note that Democracy is on the Ballot in another, very literal way, in 26 jurisdictions. Our report, Democracy on the Ballot, makes specific recommendations on 26 ballot measures that are on the ballot for many Americans this year. In 2016, 14 of 15 similar measures were won by voters and the fact there are nearly twice as many this cycle is further evidence of how seriously Americans are taking the challenges democracy is facing, and not waiting for politicians, by winning practical, workable solutions that we know are strengthening democracy, in part because of the policy, but in large measure because its the people working together to make these changes in the city or state. Maybe its time to go to work in your community too!
And if a candidate hasn’t answered the questionnaire? Voters are one click away from emailing their candidates, Tweeting at them, or calling their campaign office. We encourage all voters to ask the candidates that haven’t yet responded to the questionnaire to take action — tell your candidates you want them to go on the record.
Elected officials work for us, the voters. Any candidate worth representing their constituents in our democracy should be clear with them about exactly how they will safeguard — and expand — the very system that places them in a position of power. As voters, we have the privilege and responsibility to tell our candidates what we expect from them if they are elected and to hold them accountable if they do not live up to expectations. Those candidates need your vote and you need answers on where they stand on the issues. If they are silent, call them out, urge them to reveal where they stand on the issues, and hold power accountable.