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Hillary Clinton's Money in Politics Announcement Is a Hopeful Sign

Adam Lioz

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton announced a three-part plan for addressing the role of big and secret money in the political process.

It's a great sign that more presidential candidates are recognizing the need to challenge the lopsided way we fund election campaigns—a system that stacks the deck against working families, including people of color and just about anyone who can't afford to write checks for a few thousand or million dollars.

The first plank of the plan is to overturn the 2010 Citizens United ruling, either through an amendment to the Constitution or by appointing Supreme Court justices who would reverse the decision.

This is more good news.  Misguided Supreme Court decisions have given million-dollar megaphones to the super-rich, and created a system in which only the wealthy and well-connected can run for office, dialling for dollars from the gatekeeper class.

But, the problem goes well beyond one infamous case, and rewinding to the glory days of 2009 won't get us an America where rich, poor, and everyone in between can have our voices heard.

To build a democracy in which the size of a person's wallet does not determine the strength of her voice, we'll need a more fundamental shift in the Court's approach to money in politics—like past reversals on racial segregation and LGBT rights.  Secretary Clinton and other presidential candidates should look for justices who understand this.

Ms. Clinton's plan also proposes matching small contributions to viable candidates with limited public funds.  This is the perfect complement to stricter rules on big money, and can be enacted right away.  Congressman Sarbanes has a great proposal that should be the focus of any new president's efforts.

Yesterday was a solid day for democracy...but to turn words into real change Ms. Clinton and the others who aspire to be president must stay focused on fighting big money and empowering all Americans straight through 2016, Inauguration Day, and beyond.