Yesterday, President Obama made good on his promise to use his bully pulpit to push for real democracy reform. And the agenda he laid out proves he’s listening to the huge majority of voters who want to put We The People back in charge.
Yesterday, President Obama was in Springfield, Illinois, where nine years ago he began his historic campaign for the presidency. There, he laid out how and why we must build a democracy where everyone can participate, and where every American is represented.
Here’s what that looks like:
We must “reduce the corrosive influence of money in our political system” which drowns out our voices and makes voters cynical about the prospects for change.
President Obama rightly called out the root of the problem — the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Citizens United. And he joined the 16 states and more than 680 cities and towns who have called for a constitutional amendment to overturn that decision.
Political gerrymandering has to stop — incumbent politicians shouldn’t get to draw districts to protect themselves and squelch the competition. As President Obama pointed out, that leads to districts “shaped like earmuffs or spaghetti,” which is “how one party can get more seats even when it gets fewer votes.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Common Cause led the fight to establish impartial redistricting commissions in states like California and Ohio. Together, we can make sure that voters pick politicians — not the other way around.
Every eligible American should be able to participate in our democracy. President Obama said that lawmakers should be “making voting easier, not harder; and modernizing it for the way that we live now.”
The best, most specific reform? Have the nation follow the example of states like Oregon and California by automatically registering eligible voters when they get their driver’s licenses or IDs at the DMV.
The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and we’ve overcome countless obstacles to expand it through the years. Automatic voter registration would continue that proud legacy.
These three reforms would unlock the true potential of our democracy, starting a small-d democratic revolution that puts the voters — not special interest donors — in charge. It’s an agenda worth fighting for.
Thanks for all you do,
the team at Common Cause