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BK Blog Post
Posted by Jeffrey Clements.
Jeffrey Clements is a cofounder and general counsel of Free Speech for People, a national, nonpartisan campaign to oppose corporate personhood and pass the People’s Rights Amendment.
In an oped published to US News & World Report, FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel says that the first presidential debate “offers a signature moment” to “address people’s concerns about the state of our representative democracy.” We couldn’t agree more.
The presidential election season should be the time to engage in a national conversation about our values and our future. Unfortunately, many Americans are frustrated and don’t think they have a voice in the political process. But they are nonetheless listening. So the first presidential debate is an important opportunity to address people’s concerns about the state of our representative democracy.
But many people are simply disengaged because of the relationship between money and our political system. Large numbers of Americans report to be turned off by a process they view as out of balance, unresponsive to their needs, and dominated by a few. This disaffection and alienation is occurring at a time of deepening polarization of donors and voters. With this scenario comes gridlock, an unwillingness to solve problems, and a decrease in public trust in government and the political process. It risks creating a permanent class of outsiders.
When trust hits rock bottom, confidence in the legitimacy of our representative democracy suffers. These perspectives come from all political viewpoints. It is not a partisan issue. According to a poll conducted last summer by CBS News and the New York Times, 85 percent of Americans thought we need to fundamentally change or completely rebuild the way we fund political campaigns today. This holds true for Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Incredibly, less than a third of those surveyed thought that they had an equal chance to influence electoral outcomes.
To read the article in full, click here.