People and organizations who advocate for political power reform need to notice and speak up about what is happening in this presidential election.
Reformers have done a good job over the years of helping the general public understand the damage being done by privately funded elections and by Citizens United. We have also offered solutions.
Now, thanks to the work we have done, both the problem and the solutions are part of the presidential campaign discussion. Hillary Clinton’s website extensively details her solutions, including her support for publicly funded elections and a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United. These reforms are supported on Jill Stein’s website. Gary Johnson’s website does not acknowledge that we have a money-in-politics problem.
How about Donald Trump? Part of his appeal for many people is the idea that he is not taking big money from big self-interested donors. On his website’s “Issues” page he says, “I’m self-funding my campaign”. That way, “I don’t owe anybody, anything”, he says in his top-of-the-page video.
There is no interpretation of “self-funding” that accurately describes Trump’s campaign. His statement is a lie. There is no other way to put it. But, many people believe this to be true and they like Trump for it. Like Clinton and Stein, Trump is tapping into the deeply felt anger and frustration of people who know that the political system has been corrupted.
Reformers and reform groups have a special, trusted place of expertise in this discussion. Advocates for political power reform must speak up. We must draw attention to the candidates who offer solutions and call out those who do not.
We need to take advantage of the opportunity Trump presented to us when he posted this totally indefensible statement. We need to collectively and continuously insist that he remove this claim from his website – until he removes it. We need to point out that other candidates are offering real solutions, and call on Trump to offer real solutions, too.
We are being used. Donald Trump is eating our harvest. Advocacy organizations need come together and speak up!