(New York, NY) – On the heels of the nation’s most expensive mid-term election cycle, where federal political spending hit a $3.7 billion high, the national public policy organization Demos released a new report that examines the inherent racial bias in our big money political system.
A follow-up to Demos’ foundational report, Stacked Deck: How the Racial Bias in our Big Money Political System Undermines Our Democracy and Our Economy highlights how politics driven by wealthy donors holds back our nation’s struggle for racial equity.
“Our first report looked broadly at how wealthy donors use their political power to stall economic mobility for middle class and working families,” said Adam Lioz, Counsel and Senior Advisor at Demos and author of the study. “We found significant disparities between the policy preferences of the general public and the priorities of the donor class. In this report, we focus specifically on how funding political campaigns primarily with large contributions from wealthy donors harms communities of color, resulting in racially biased outcomes and policies such as discriminatory mortgage lending and the declining real value of the federal minimum wage.”
The report also finds that big money politics undermines fair representation and erects barriers to candidates of color engaging in the democratic process at the very beginning.
“Candidates of color find it more difficult to run for office because fewer have access to a broad network of donors who can afford to give $1,000 or more to help launch a campaign,” said Lioz. “When they do run, they raise significantly less money than their white counterparts – particularly in the South.”
Key findings include:
The report also includes policy recommendations to help make government more inclusive, such as a constitutional amendment to reduce the role of money in politics, a wholesale change to the Supreme Court’s approach to the issue, and matching small political contributions with public funds. It features five case studies detailing the real-world impact of money in politics on people of color and examples of solutions to create a fairer system:
Stacked Deck: How the Racial Bias in Our Big Money Political System Undermines Our Democracy and Our Economy is the companion piece to Demos’ foundational report, Stacked Deck: How the Dominance of Politics by the Affluent & Business Undermines Economic Mobility in America. The original report, released in 2013, revealed the connection between political inequality and economic mobility, highlighting the donor class’ outsized influence through political spending and civic participation advantages.
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