We confront corruption in this moment not to restore old status quos that failed us before now, but to demand a new democracy that truly reflects, responds to, and represents all Americans.
Recent self-dealing, conflicts of interest, and attacks on the rule of law have dragged our country to a new low, but the roots of today’s corruption extend well beyond any one President or Congress.
Restoring faith in our democracy and ensuring government works in the best interest of all Americans, not to the personal benefit of political insiders and the wealthy and well-connected, requires comprehensive reform that will extend well beyond any one President or Congress.
Our democracy must ensure the freedom to vote and have that vote counted.
A strong democracy is one where voting is a fundamental right and a civic responsibility. Voting is our power to make change in our communities and ensure everyone has a voice in the decisions affecting our lives. That means eliminating discriminatory rules and ensuring that every person can exercise their vote, and trust that their vote will be accurately counted. We can do this with automatic voter registration, fully restoring the Voting Rights Act and voting rights for the disenfranchised, strengthen election infrastructure, while putting an end to partisan gerrymandering and the Electoral College.
Our democracy must be honest.
A strong democracy serves the people rather than the private interests of public officials and wealthy political donors. We need to empower federal ethics watchdogs and strengthen ethics rules, require more disclosure of the financial dealings of the executive branch and Congress, and make sure the public knows who’s getting contracts to spend our money.
Our democracy must have meaningful participation.
A strong democracy is one where our influence is based on the force of ideas, not the size of our wallets. This means voters and communities have the same influence over elections and policymaking irrespective of wealth. We must overturn Supreme Court decisions that have given the wealthy too much power in our politics, create programs that give small donors a bigger say in our elections, strengthen and enforce our campaign finance laws, and ban candidates from coordinating with groups funded through unlimited donations.
Our democracy must provide transparency into our government and our elections.
A strong democracy is one where people know who is trying to gain influence over our representatives, who is trying to influence our votes, and how and why policy is being made. Federal agencies and Congress should increase enforcement of ethics rules and require more transparency of how money’s spent on politics and how government acts and spends money. We also need more transparency from the White House, its advisory boards, and visitor logs.
Our democracy must be responsive.
A strong democracy works to respond to the needs of people and their communities, building trust in governance and equity. We must combat agency-regulatory capture with processes that increase public participation and reduce undue influence by powerful special interests – slow the revolving door and the use of public service for private gain.