New York is on the cusp of adopting a campaign finance reform that would amplify small donations with matching funds, reducing the power of big special interest money over the state's politics. It would also allow New Yorkers to claim the mantle of the first state to take back their democracy in the era of Citizens United and unprecedented campaign spending.
But adopting Fair Elections would accomplish something else badly needed in our democracy: more diverse representation in our political leadership.
New voices are desperately needed in our democracy. The general public is far more diverse in gender and race than our elected officials. Remarkably, women comprise only 24 percent of state legislative bodies on average. Not only do women and Americans of color make up less of our leadership, they are also much less likely to be among the wealthy donor class whose political spending increasingly influences our politics since Citizens United.