President Heather McGhee on the Senate's Vote and Debate on the Democracy for All Resolution

Release Date: 
September 11, 2014

Demos President Heather McGhee issued the following statement on the Senate's actions this week on the Democracy for All resolution:

“Demos applauds the Senate for debating and voting this week on the Democracy for All resolution, which would clarify that the People have the power to curb the influence of big money on our democracy. 

"Although a minority of senators blocked the resolution from moving forward, a robust debate was a victory and an important step in the national conversation about the undemocratic role of big money in American politics. 

"And, the debate on amending the Constitution helps amplify another way to fix the damage the Supreme Court has done to our democracy with cases such as Citizens United and its horrifying 2014 sequel McCutcheon v. FEC.  The Court can also reverse course on money in politics, like the justices have done before on New Deal economic protections, racial segregation, LGBT rights, and more.

“The promise of American democracy is that we are all afforded an equal say over the policies that shape our lives. Instead, today’s campaign finance system allows wealthy donors and corporate interests to use million-dollar megaphones to influence government, drowning out the voices of the 99 percent of Americans who don’t make large campaign donations. The Constitution should not tolerate our public debates descending into proxy fights between billionaires and CEOs. 

“The Democracy for All amendment or a change in the Supreme Court’s approach to money in politics would not just improve our democracy—it would also clear the way for much-needed economic progress. As Demos’ ‘Stacked Deck’ research illustrates, key policies to improve economic mobility and security have been thwarted because the donor class does not support them, despite the overwhelming popularity of these measures -- including education spending to reduce college debt, direct public job creation, and a higher minimum wage. 

“As a result, low-paid workers aren’t just getting $8 per hour worth of groceries or health care—now they’re getting $8 per hour worth of voice in our democracy. 

“In decisions spanning back to 1976’s Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court has turned the First Amendment from a cornerstone of democracy intended to secure robust public debate into a tool for use by wealthy interests to dominate the political process. 

“There are two ways to empower the true demos in our democracy: the Court can reverse its flawed interpretation of the Constitution, making room for core American values such as political equality to uphold common-sense campaign finance rules. Or, the People, through our elected representatives, can amend the Constitution directly.

“Either way, we can and must come together to forge a democracy where the strength of an American’s voice does not depend upon the size of her wallet.  This week’s debate and vote was an important step in that direction.”

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