There is no doubt as we look forward to election day that we are a divided nation. Yet, with these divisions on so many issues, there are unifying issues, too. That’s why I, a long-time conservative political strategist, and Tom Butler, a former Democrat State Senator, gathered in Huntsville on Thursday to talk about how we can return influence to the people. At a time when politics becomes more and more polarizing and personal, there are core issues on which all of us can agree – campaign finance reform and keeping the power of government with the people. Power needs to rest with the people so that legislators and candidates alike serve people over special interests. However, voter turnout continues to drop. Yes, there are issues with the candidates, fatigue over broken promises from Washington, and a general frustration with the system. Yet, we have found that none of those is the primary driver of voter malaise. What if we learned the reason people had lost faith in American democracy was money?
Increasingly, voters feel overwhelmed. They are convinced that their vote makes little to no difference. Sadly, many see their officials chasing dollars, swearing fidelity to the special interests capable of funding their campaigns, and forgetting to cherish the voters who bestowed their trust upon them.
We are committed to finding a solution. Dozens of proposals have been put forward, from strengthening enforcement to reducing the length of our election season, from public campaign financing to incentivizing small individual donations. As advocates on the right and left, we don’t agree on all of them. However, we do agree on the need to begin the discussions to get the people back into the process. One such proposal is hopefully on its way to becoming law. HR 4177 amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit elected officials and campaign committees from accepting any internet credit card contribution unless they can be identified as coming from a United States citizen. HR 4177 is gaining support from those congressmen who believe in preventing the selling out of our Democracy.
Not long ago, politicians believed that votes won elections. Now, the accepted thinking is that money wins’ elections. Fundraising has replaced vote totals as the new yardstick for measuring the strength of campaigns. This is exactly why so many Americans find themselves irrelevant to the electoral system. Therefore, they’ve walked away. To save our democracy, we must bring them back.
Take Back Our Republic
Featured in The Courier Journal