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Do the 2014 elections look promising for the Democrats? Not so far as I can tell.

Do the Democrats have a bold plan to inspire the American people to turn the House back over to them? Not so far as I’ve heard.

Is there a solution available? I think there is.

We’ve got a Supreme Court that just doubled down on its disgraceful 2010 decision in Citizens United, continuing in the new case (McCutcheon vs. FEC) to pretend to believe that opening the floodgates still wider for big money to flow into our elections does not corrupt our political system.

And we’ve got poll data  that indicates that the overwhelming majority of the American people – across the political spectrum – believe there’s too much money in our politics, and that the rich are getting too large a voice at the expense of average Americans. The people, it seems, understand that our “democracy” is being put up for auction. And they don’t like it.

There’s an opportunity there. It’s an opportunity that not only could benefit the Democrats, but also would be right and noble to seize. It could help rescue this nation from its present descent into oligarchy, in betrayal of the democracy our founders had in mind.

The Supreme Court – as corrupt as the five-member, Republican-appointed majority has made it – has precluded the possibility of mere legislation protecting the integrity of our election process. The Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it means, and for the foreseeable future our Constitution will persist in its present contorted form in which corporations are persons and money is speech.

That leaves but one solution: to amend the Constitution.

We cannot afford to wait for a better Supreme Court. Indeed, by the time the billionaires and mega-corporations have finished surging through the holes that John Roberts and his buddies have opened up, we’d likely be so dominated by big money that the better justices we’ve been waiting for would be unable to get nominated and confirmed.

The Democrats should unite to run this year behind a pledge to enact a constitutional amendment that clearly and unambiguously not only overturns these recent decisions but also goes further to establish a system of public financing for all our federal elections

It’s a battle the American people would welcome as if the bugles had sounded and the cavalry were galloping in to the rescue. It is appropriate and useful to present the Koch brothers to the American people as the face of the Republican Party, as Senator Reid has been doing. But it would be more powerfully appealing to the electorate for them to be offered a way to rid themselves of the whole menace of plutocracy.

This is not the place to lay out the text for such an amendment. (I like the idea of one that gives every registered voter a voucher that can only be used in the election process and that bars all other money from that process. That would re-establish the equality of “one person, one vote” that is subverted now by a system of “one dollar, one vote.”)

But whatever the form, the people might well respond favorably to such an attempt to restore control over the American government to the people of this nation.

It is certainly a sad state of affairs when the Republicans, after five years of disgraceful conduct, seem now more likely to gain control of the Senate than to lose control of the House. Maybe, if the Democrats can take a strong position on behalf of the people in an area where the people are apparently quite aware they are getting short shrift, that dismal prognosis can be reversed.

And whatever the immediate electoral results, putting front and center the idea of getting such an amendment into the Constitution can only be good for America.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    SCOTUS is something that Democrats should actually run against. The Maine Senate race in particular.

    A Democrat won't defeat Susan Collins in Maine by attacking her, so Maine presents itself as an ideal test case for running on something larger. Democratic ads there should praise Collins for her service to Maine, but make the case that the stakes of holding control of the Senate are bigger than one person, and that the Maine Senate seat could be the tipping point, and that a Democrat must be elected.

    Defeating Collins is a longshot either way, so might as well go with the more positive strategy, which I think actually has a better chance of success.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:13:24 AM PDT

    •  Always wanted a Dem to try your tactic. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Something like a vote for your local milquetoast Republican is actually a vote for Ted Cruz or Gohmert, etc. ...with the campaign ad showing Gohmert in full crazy mode. Republicans make a poor attempt at it with Nancy Pelosi, but its just an appeal to misogyny instead of an appeal to the intellect or just common decency. I have my doubts as to whether it would work, but would love to see someone give it a serious try.

      Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

      by bywaterbob on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:32:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  not only that... (0+ / 0-)

    ...running in support of a Constitutional Amendment to overturn these decisions sounds like a great idea.

    In addition, Democrats, including Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, need to do a better job showing where Mitch ("there's not enough money in politics") stands.

    That's exactly where McConnell stands on this matter. He has said in the past and has never wavered that he feels that not only is there not too much money in politics, but he feels that "there's not enough money in politics."

  •  Pot calling kettle black issue (0+ / 0-)

    It takes millions of dollars just to have your voice heard as a candidate advocating for publicly financed elections. The concept is appealing, but how do you make that argument to the public when you have to raise money just to be heard? Perhaps only a self funded candidate could claim clean hands. Sorry to troll you, but its a legitimate concern.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:27:05 AM PDT

  •  Now if we could just get the Dems to stop... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sucking the teat of big business they would actually consider such things.

    All Dems need to do is act in accordance to their stated values, but instead they prefer to compete with the Repubs, pushing themselves as a not quite so destructive and uncaring party.

    Its almost like they don't want midterm voters spending all their energy pitching their 'populist' ideas in the presidential elections and then proving they aren't really going to do those things just in time for the midterms.

    Everyone wants to blame democratic voters for being indifferent in midterm elections, but its the Dems themselves that create the apathy via their republican light policies. Truth is that social issues are important enough to merit off year voting, but that doesn't mean people will be inspired. Then the Dems will use 'we don't have the numbers, we need 300 in the house 60 in the senate and a President before we can accomplish anything' which oddly enough never seems to work against the repubs when they are the underdogs.

    Almost anyone with any political awareness could tell the Dems how to inspire voters, but that would imply they actually want to. I firmly believe much of what the Dems do to let Repubs win is completely intentional and is part of the game of serving their masters while giving lip service to their constituents. And on the rare occasion they try something that benefits us they will start low and negotiate even lower, but we should be thankful they even pretend anymore.

    When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:38:58 AM PDT

    •  Fool Me One Election, Shame On You, Fool Me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for 45 elections, shame on you.

      The Democrats have been terrified of 1-party Dem control of WH and Congress for years. Divided government lets them pitch social progressivism while reassuring big money donors they can't be forced by populists into interfering with the continued strengthening of the strong and enriching of the rich.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:04:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're partially right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But a big factor is also the fact that young and unengaged voters tend to forget about elections in non-Presidential years.  I can't tell you how many doors I've knocked on over the years only to be met with shock that there was an election in a few weeks.

      A lot of our voters are driven by spectacle and personality, which you don't get in off years.

    •  true, but (0+ / 0-)

      Surely the contamination does not stop at the line between the parties. But also important is what is shown by the fact that in the recent McCutcheon decision the five who voted for plutocracy were Republican appointees, while the four who vigorously dissented and called out for the integrity of our American political process were appointed by Democrats. Differences matter. That's all the politics allows us to choose among. It's a matter of steering: which way do we go at this point. The Democrats are the only other combatant in the arena.

      •  We never know who will vote or rule in any... (0+ / 0-)

        manner until they don't have the number needed already tied up in the usual suspects. Sure when it already decided those considered on the 'left' vote how we would like, but that doesn't mean one of them wouldn't go the other way if needed. That is true for the SC and Congress.

        Maybe I am overly jaded but thats what being empirical will do in todays politics. Its why the other 4 ruled against Roberts for the ACA, but if another vote was needed any of the 4 would of happily ruled that way.

        Until it matters you really don't know how things will go and there is plenty of evidence to support my point, they are all about keeping up images until policy gets in the way and forces them to show their hand..

        When the Republicans are in power they get what they want and when the Democrats are in power they still get what they want. At what point do people finally see it is just theater? ~ Me

        by fToRrEeEsSt on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 11:27:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Multiple Amendments Most Likely (0+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:01:55 AM PDT

  •  Even simpler. Democrats should try running on the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    basis of things that people like: Expanding Social Security, Medicaid expansion, higher minimum wage.
       Vague promises of "hope and change" or "we don't suck as much as the Republicans" are rather wimpy appeals if your goal is to motivate people to vote for you.

    •  Agree (0+ / 0-)

      These are broadly popular ideas that we support, the Republicans oppose and don't come off as radical even in the slightest.  The first two should be especially popular with the over 50 crowd who turn out in midterms.

      These issues, plus maybe immigration reform, are the middle ground between running away from Democratic policies  and going too far to the left.  It's the kind of stuff that'll be popular with the base and the mushy middle.

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