The 2016 presidential election is on track to be the most expensive in history, with widespread disenfranchisement.
And President Obama can and should take executive action to put a stop to the billions of dark corporate dollars funding politicians this campaign season, argue a coalition of Democracy Awakening movement leaders and public interest groups, and he must also pressure Congress to re-establish and strengthen the Voting Rights Act before the November election.
“Our democracy is in crisis. Big Money is dominating our elections, and voters across the country are systematically being denied the franchise. Americans of all political stripes are united by their outrage and demand for action,” said Robert Weissman, president of consumer watchdog Public Citizen.
“With the clock ticking down on President Obama’s tenure in the White House, it is vital that he issue a clarion call for far-reaching reform,” Weissman said.
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Democracy Awakening began as a grassroots campaign of civil disobedience calling for campaign finance reform earlier this spring. The movement’s leaders have coordinated a national call-in day of action on Wednesday, rallying a crowd during a press conference outside the White House that morning to pressure the president into action.
The groups’ message was straightforward, as Public Citizen said: “Act now.”
“There’s a lot of folks back here with signs that say ‘Democracy is not for sale,'” Communications Workers of America president Chris Shelton said during Wednesday’s rally. “Well, they must be talking about another country, because in the United States, democracy is absolutely for sale.”
The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United was when the government “put up the for sale sign,” Shelton observed.
Debbie Sease, senior advocacy and lobbying director for the Sierra Club, lamented, “The very companies that are polluting our environment are taking our money to pollute our democracy.”
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