By Nick Edwards
Yet another example of Democratic Backsliding in America was outlined in a presentation at Suffolk University recently. Does keeping large amounts of money out of politics mean anything to you? If you are nodding, then I urge you to continue reading this eye opening blog post.
Jeff Clements visited Suffolk University in Boston recently to explain to students, faculty, and distinguished guests his vision of a proposed ratification of the 28th amendment. Clements, is an attorney, author, and most notably the founder and CEO of the organization American Promise, ( https://www.americanpromise.net/).
Part of Clements central mission along with the several other members of American Promise is to “inspire, empower, and organize” American’s across the nation to join them on their mission to adapting the 28th Amendment.
The scene of the room in the initial stages of the conversation were met with some skeptical looks, as the afternoon progressed, guests were completely sold on what Clements had outlined. Honestly, as soon as I heard this I was figuring the next thing Clements would propose is donating to his cause. To be clear according to Jeff Clements and all affiliated with the American Promise Organization. “The 28th Amendment will affirm that We the People—not big money, not corporations, not unions, not special interests—govern the United States of America.” Clements, like many across the nation and I would go as far as saying the world, are fed up with large Political Action Committees (PACS) and other big money organizations having an overall influence on politics. In many political campaigns, especially at the local level this can be make or break for a candidate. Although, one might argue money doesn’t win elections it certainly does help. Year after year major PACs and organizations are funding political candidates and are putting them at a sincere advantage to many others who file to run.
Although some reading may think Clements odds are slim, he has a vast array of support. Several lawmakers nationwide have advocated support to entertain this motion. All in attendance seemed to notice that Jeff Clements and American Promise members do have have a comprehensive plan. This plan (https://www.americanpromise.net/who-we-are/about-american-promise/) essentially includes civic engagement across the nation as well as continuing to work with elected officials. Clements touted several times throughout his presentation that their is strong bipartisan support of this potential creation and ratification of the 28th Amendment. American promise firmly believes that we must hold all elected officials accountable, whether this may be at the federal level or the local level.
In other words, I think this relates directly to Democratic backsliding, extreme amounts of money should not be adversely affecting politics what so ever. This especially leads to a problem when certain political parties have a distinct advantage over each other due to heavy funding.
According to experts at CNBC big money PAC’s are making politics “even dirtier”. (https://www.cnbc.com/id/46341236).
Robert Barrows, who has run for office himself and contributed to the CNBC report on the problem with PAC’s is in strong agreement that this makes politics dirtier. “We know there’s a quid pro quo and all the does is make it harder to know who’s paying how much money. It’s absurd to say that any of these PACs can’t have any contract with the candidate,” Barrows argued within the report. I am certain Barrows would agree that the money within politics directly leads to democratic backsliding.
At the end of the day, politics should be about the people, not money. It is unfortunate to see how money effects the political process so intently, especially here in the United States. Democratic Erosion has been the main conversation for any of us students participating in the cross university collaboration, and now after getting involved within this course it is difficult not to find any notions of democratic backsliding anywhere.
Your blog post really caught my eye, but when I visited the American Promise website, I am still unclear as to what the 28th amendment would be exactly. There are so many things involved in our Democracy today that are undemocratic (just look at who our democracy elected president!). In the beginning of this course, I had never even heard of democratic erosion and so I assume most Americans have no idea what is really going on. Now I too see it everywhere I look. I wish I could have attented this event you went to. It seems like a really great effort in saving our Democracy. Our right to fair and free elections has become blurry. Are our elections fair? Do regular citizens votes have the same influence as the wealthy? And if the answer to these questions is “no”, then what do we do? Do we give up? I believe as Americans we have the duty to fight for Democracy even if that means fighting against strong PAC’s.