Here is one thing we can do: make congress dependent on the public for campaign funding instead of the wealthy via something like the American Anti-Corruption Act (AACA). Trevor Potter and Lawrence Lessig are some names behind this, and Bill Moyers has also shown interest.
Among many other provisions which impose restrictions on lobbying and increase disclosure, the AACA would give each citizen a $100 tax rebate for campaign financing that could be allocated as they see fit (if all of the people that voted in 2012 took advantage of their tax rebate, it’s something like $12+ billion–twice what was spent in 2012 altogether). Of course, politicians have to opt-in to the system and accept severe limits on contributions. It’s in the form of a tax rebate because it gives citizens an incentive to contribute (unlike matching systems)–and also because the right loves reductions in taxes, reducing the potential for absolute polarization over the issue.
We currently have about 310k signatures (“co-sponsors”). It was only introduced in November, so 310k isn’t so bad (yes, I think everyone knows a movement like this has to have feet on the ground, but it would be stupid not to use the internet to our advantage. I have no doubt that if this movement gained enough momentum online, there would be calls for mass protests)
I’m not saying this bill will solve everything, but the current system incentivizes corruption through the campaign finance system: you’re not getting into/staying in office unless you can raise 3-4 million for a senate seat (or 40+ million if it’s a competitive seat) or 1-2 million for a house seat, and it’s quite obvious where the vast majority of that money currently has to come from (and it’s also quite obvious that it comes with strings attached/expectations). Sometimes it can be hard to believe, but a good number of congressmen hate the current system of campaign finance for this very reason, and they complain of having to make sacrifices in order to effect some change (see Lawrence Lessig’s book “Republic, Lost”). Other people (e.g. “Big Money” Mitch) love it and seek to crush any form of campaign finance reform.
And, yes, it’s very unlikely that it will pass through congress even if we have vast numbers backing it–I don’t think anyone in this movement doubts that. But the plan is that once we get a large enough backing there will be a substantial foundation to push for a constitutional amendment (and possibly some media coverage) if congress refuses to pass it.
Even if you’re not entirely optimistic about this, it doesn’t cost you much to become a co-signer and pass it around. If everyone just keeps waiting for the “right” movement to come around, nothing’s going to happen (there are lots of people associated OWS backing this act, except now we’re talking about specific legislation. Believe it or not, there are also have some Tea Partiers involved too).
It’s definitely a huge step in the right direction. At this point we just need as many people as possible to converge around it.
jcaimbridge commented on the blog post Filibuster Reform Definitely Coming, But May Not Be Enough
Forcing the “talking filibuster” should at least help bring further into public view the scale of republican obstruction. Still, it leaves much to be desired.
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