Public financing of elections, as a state and local democracy reform, can help enhance the political voice and power of working-class people and people of color. It is an effective antidote to the outsized influence corporations and major donors currently have on both politics and policy.
In 2012, just 61 large donors to Super PACs giving an average of $4.7 million each matched the $285.2 million in grassroots contributions from more than 1,425,500 small donors to the major party presidential candidates.
After getting the First Amendment supremely wrong in Citizens United, the Supreme Court now faces its next money in politics case. In McCutcheon v. FEC, the challengers are attacking a law that says that no one person can contribute over $123,000 directly to federal candidates, parties, and committees—that’s over twice the average American’s income.
In 2010 and 2011, Maryland and New York took bold steps to correct the problem known as prison gerrymandering, a problem resulting from the United States Census Bureau’s practice of counting incarcerated individuals as residents of their prison cells rather than their home communities.
Baltimore’s campaign donors lack diversity across race, gender, and socioeconomic status. The Baltimore Fair Election Fund, designed with equity and community engagement at the forefront, can change that.