Three in four voters believe “wealthy Americans have a better chance than others of influencing the election process,” according to polling released this week by CBS News. In addition, 76 percent believe outside group spending should be limited, and 71 percent want to maintain contribution limites to candidates. The former has been ruled unconstitutional in Citizens United v. FEC. The latter is likely to be challenged by conservative lawyers in the future.
Then it's no surprise that the same poll found just 5 percent of voters “think most members of Congress have done a good enough job to deserve re-election.” That's an astoundingly small lack of public trust in our elected leaders. That's the price we pay for a Congress more attuned to needs of the money over the many.
Congress should begin to restore Americans’ faith in the political process with a series of reforms to empower everyday people, bills like the Fair Elections Now Act in the Senate and the Government By the People Act in the House. Those bills would give small donors a bigger voice in the process, encourage political participation, and make elected officials more accountable to people back in their districts.
The American people want—and deserve—a political system that works for everyone, one that isn’t simply a conversation among the wealthy.