The fight to preserve our representative democracy is as old as the country itself.
However, the scale of the crisis facing our republic today is unprecedented. Our country is immersed in the most expensive election cycle in history, one that will see presidential and congressional candidates raising billions of dollars from a tiny sliver of the wealthiest Americans. It’s no surprise the vast majority of Americans see politics as a rigged game that prevents everyone from having a voice and that civic participation is in a free fall.
It is within this context that we, the undersigned, deliver a different, more hopeful message: the growing problem of money’s outsized power in politics and policymaking can be solved. Those who say otherwise are cynics. Indeed, not only do solutions exist, but they are already working in communities across the country. These reforms are systematically reorienting government back where it belongs: in the hands of Main Street Americans.
We hope this report, which details the very best of these ideas, will serve as an introductory resource for legislators and advocates in towns, cities and states from coast to coast who long to address this issue.
There are three critical takeaways from “Blueprints for Democracy: Actionable Reforms to Solve our Governing Crisis.” First, it demonstrates concretely that despite Citizens United and other misguided court decisions that have made this problem worse, there are many tangible solutions that can preserve and protect our democracy—right now. This is a problem with a solution; a problem that can, and must, be fixed.
Second, these policies have strong bipartisan support. Outside of the hyper-partisanship that defines today’s “inside the Capital Beltway” politics, none of these ideas should strike anyone as controversial, neither liberal nor conservative. Instead, they represent the ideals toward which any high functioning democracy should strive. From the Founders’ fervor to limit corruption to Teddy Roosevelt’s crusade against corporate cronyism, from Barry Goldwater’s stern warning against the distorting influence of campaign expenditures to Ronald Reagan’s embrace of citizen funding for elections, these concepts span our nation’s history and transcend party lines.
Finally, we hope this report sounds the alarm for all those who recognize the governing crisis that threatens our republic. Democracy requires constant vigilance, and we have reached the tipping point: Together, we must either implement these common-sense solutions and regain our liberty, or risk watching the lights go out on self-governance itself.
The time is now. Join us in this most American fight to ensure our government of, by and for the people does not perish on our watch.
Sen. Bill Bradley (D-NJ)
Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY)