As the 2018 midterms rapidly approach, Democrats have been searching for the issue that will help them connect with frustrated voters tired of corruption and big money controlling politics. With dozens of new outrages from the Trump administration to grapple with every day, how can they keep focused on a singular message? One group thinks they have the answer: End Citizens United.
Citizens United was a 2010 ruling by the Supreme Court that set America’s campaign finance laws on fire by giving corporations the same right of free speech as American citizens. Since its passage, big money donors like the Waltons and the Koch brothers have funneled unknowable hordes of dark money into political races all over the country. By bombarding viewers with constant attack campaigns and misleading political propaganda, Citizens United has helped concentrate political power in the hands of a small group of elite donors with no virtually no limits on their ability to disguise their true agenda.
To completely overturn Citizens United would require a constitutional amendment. While difficult, it is a goal supported by organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Political Accountability, the League of Women Voters, and The Sunlight Foundation. Polls also show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support overturning Citizens United. Democrats seized on this opportunity by adding a Citizens United reversal to the 2016 Democratic Party platform, but End Citizens United wants to help them make that plank a reality.
Led by president Tiffany Muller, former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s deputy political director, the group has set an ambitious goal of $35M to elect Democrats dedicated to improving campaign finance laws. Eschewing money from big corporate donors, they follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama, Howard Dean, and Bernie Sanders by relying on grassroots fundraising and technology-enabled political activism.
With a donor base of of over 380,000 members, End Citizens United is optimistic about their chances. They’ve doubled their staff and have already endorsed 130 candidates for the 2018 midterms. With Donald Trump’s historically low poll numbers and anti-Republican activism so high, they believe now is the time for Democrats to change the balance of power in Washington and state governments to counterbalance the big money advantage the Citizens United ruling gave Republicans.
If Democrats are willing to show voters they stand for something, they might just be able to pull off a blue wave. Targeting big money in campaigns might just be what gets them there.
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