News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.

"What we've seen in Seattle and the state is that there is no quick fix to Citizens United," writes Cindy Black. "Instead, a holistic approach is needed."

With democracy reform stalled on Capitol Hill, local and state solutions needed

Black is executive director of Seattle-based Fix Democracy First, which advocates for campaign finance, election access and voting rights reforms.

While important democratic reforms continue to stall in the Senate, activists in some states and municipalities are showing there's another way.

In Washington state, we've created a blueprint to rein in money in politics that can work elsewhere.

We've shown that a combination of public financing of elections, increasing access to the ballot, requiring nonprofits to disclose their top donors and coming up with creative ways to restrict the flow of corporate cash into politics can go a long way in returning government to the people.

Keep reading... Show less

As hard as the fight for women's suffrage was, writes Jana Morgan, women of color like Sojourner Truth had to fight even harder to secure their rights to vote — and they are still fighting today.

Why women's issues are also democracy issues

Morgan is director of the Declaration for American Democracy, a coalition of 145-plus organizations from the labor, racial justice, faith, women's rights, environment, good government and many other communities.

This is the second in a series of opinion pieces we are publishing during Women's History Month to recognize the contributions of women to the democracy reform movement.

This month is a time to reflect on the incredible work women activists have done to gain full and equal participation in democracy. It's also a time to reflect on the ways our democracy still shuts people out — and how we can join reformers to push solutions forward.

Women have been driving democracy reform for centuries. The dominant narrative of the suffrage movement is familiar, beginning with the Seneca Falls convention in 1848, featuring well-known activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and culminating with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote. These bold reformers redefined democracy for women. Thanks to them, this Women's History Month we celebrate not only the successes of the suffrage movement but also a record number of women in Congress and the multiple women who have sought the presidency this year.

Keep reading... Show less
jayk7 / Getty Images

6 takeaways from a liberal democracy reform scorecard of Congress

It's no surprise that Democrats in Congress rank better on democracy reform than their Republican counterparts, especially when progressive groups are keeping score. Over the last year, GOP members were largely opposed to Democratic efforts to get big money out of politics and expand access to the ballot box.

So the bipartisan chasm comes off as enormous in the first congressional scorecard produced by End Citizens United, a liberal political action committee that's focused mainly on shrinking money's influence over politics. And the report, released this week, suggests only rare and subtle degrees of disapproval for the blue team on Capitol Hill in 2019 — and only a few areas for faint praise of the red team.

All members were rated on whether they accepted contributions from corporate PACs. The 432 current House members were also scored on how they voted on the floor four times — including of course on HR 1, the comprehensive political process overhaul passed in March — and how many of five measures important to the group they cosponsored. Since the Senate took no votes on legislation connected to democracy reform, the senators in office last year were rated only on a quartet of co-sponsorships.

Keep reading... Show less
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The former New York mayor, above talking to reporters this week, is the last presidential candidate to detail his plan for fixing the system's ills.

Bloomberg joins other Democrats with broad plans for democracy reform

Citizens would be automatically registered to vote, or they could register online or on Election Day, under a comprehensive voting rights proposal unveiled Friday by Mike Bloomberg.

He is the last of the prominent Democratic candidates for president to detail an agenda for making the democratic process work better. The plan was unveiled as Bloomberg took his campaign to Georgia for an appearance with Stacey Abrams, one of the most prominent civil rights advocates in the country.

"The right to vote is the fundamental right that protects all others, but in states around the country it is under attack," Bloomberg said in a statement released by his campaign.

Keep reading... Show less
© Issue One. All rights reserved.