President Obama gave an extended interview to Vox, and among the many topics covered, he went further than he's gone before regarding Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that has allowed unlimited, unaccountable spending by billionaires and wealthy corporations in our elections. In the past he's blasted the ruling, including in his State of the Union address delivered days after the ruling came down. But now he's throwing his support behind a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling.
The president told Vox in an exclusive interview that he wants to see such a drastic change, because he thinks the money-in-politics status quo is so damaging to our political system.
Arguing that "unlimited money" in politics is a key cause of polarization, Obama said, "I would love to see some constitutional process that would allow us to actually regulate campaign spending the way we used to, and maybe even improve it."
He's in good company there. Last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who said last week
that Citizens United
would be the first decision she would overturn if she had a "magic wand," and "I think we need to get our democracy to where it is a democracy for all of the people."
More than 600 municipalities and 16 states have passed legislative resolutions or ballot questions calling for a constitutional amendment, with New Hampshire possibly set to join them when its legislature will soon vote on it. It's also got the support of 73 percent of the voting public in the United States—that's all voters, Democratic, Republican, and independent.
A constitutional amendment is a heavy lift, and one that's unlikely to garner the two-thirds approval in the House and Senate that we have in 2015. But it's essential to getting our government back. What President Obama's strong support for it now could do is to help galvanize more states behind the effort and to raise it up as an issue for 2016. It sure wouldn't hurt the Democratic presidential candidate of 2016 to side with 73 percent of American voters, and the current president, on this one.