Elizabeth Warren on Monday unveiled a significant expansion of her plan to improve the behavior of public servants and root out Washington corruption.
It was the latest detailed set of policy prescriptions from the Massachusetts senator, who has seen her standing in the top tier of Democratic presidential hopefuls solidify in recent weeks — a signal that the frail state of government ethics is guaranteed to have a place among the issues being addressed in the 2020 campaign.
"Make no mistake about it: The Trump administration is the most corrupt administration of our lifetimes," Warren wrote in a post on Medium that's now part of her campaign website. "But these problems did not start with Donald Trump. They are much bigger than him — and solving them will require big, structural change to fundamentally transform our government."
Renaldo Pearson is on a long-distance walk — at least that's what he tells the friendly folks in the southeast who stop to offer him a ride.
As much as his bruised feet and sunburned skin would appreciate the relief, he politely declines each offer. The ground rules for this mission to fix America's broken democracy are simple: Keep walking and invite others to join the journey.
Two weeks ago, on the 54th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Pearson laced up his waterproof Adidas Terrex sneakers and set out from Atlanta. On Monday, he crossed the border into North Carolina and his 50-day journey will end, more than 600 miles later, in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24 — National Voter Registration Day.
Upon arrival, Pearson pledges to remain on the steps of the Capitol until all the presidential candidates promise to make democracy reform a priority or the Senate passes HR 1 (or another bill that includes reforms to expand voting rights, make elections safe and competitive and end political corruption).
Making Election Day a new federal holiday has been one of the highest-profile parts of the Democrats' sweeping package for reforming elections, campaign finance and government ethics.
Plenty of prominent members of Congress such as Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who is in his 13th term and a committee chairman, praised the holiday provision when the House debated the bill this spring.
The Associated Press mentioned the holiday language in stories about passage of the legislation, known as HR 1. So did CNN, Fox News, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Leading good-government advocacy groups, including Public Citizen, shined a light on the possibility of a holiday in praising the measure's advancement.
And what do all of them have in common? They all got it wrong.
Wertheimer is the president of Democracy 21, which works to strengthen democracy by ensuring the integrity of our elections and more.
The House passed historic reform legislation to repair and strengthen the rules of our democracy on March 8.
HR 1 is unprecedented, holistic reform legislation to fix our broken political system. It passed on a 234-193 party line vote, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Sarbanes. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Tom Udall with all 46 of his Democratic and independent colleagues as sponsors.
HR 1 provides essential reforms to address what's broken in our political system — money corruption, voter suppression and discrimination, extreme partisan gerrymandering, and government ethics abuses.