Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bipartisan Agreement Against Corruption-- So What's Next?


Yesterday, the political reform group headed by Zephyr Teachout, MAYDAY.US, released a poll by PPP showing incredibly strong bipartisan support for the need to fundamentally reform the way this country funds campaigns. Teachout:
A lot divides us as a country, but the results are clear: Supporters of every candidate for President-- all the way from Ted Cruz and Ben Carson to Hillary Clinton and Lawrence Lessig-- believe that our system is broken and needs fundamental reform. Americans are looking to Washington to break the cycle of corruption, and they’ve had it with a handful of corporations and well-connected individuals exploiting the weakness in our democratic design to corrupt our country from the inside.
Among Democrats, 82% strongly agreed and 10% somewhat agreed that "special interest money has too much influence in American political campaigns." And it wasn't that much different among Republicans: 80% strongly agreed and 14% agreed somewhat. Among Democrats, 70% strongly agreed and 15% agreed somewhat that "the system for funding 
elections needs fundamental reform." The numbers for GOP voters were similar: 61% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat (total 81%, compared with 85% for Democrats).

When given the statement "Elections would be less corrupt if politicians focused more on small donations from voters instead of big money from special interests," 72% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans strongly agreed and 14% of Democrats and 15% of Republicans agreed somewhat. Slightly more contentious was the statement "We should move toward the citizen-funding of campaigns, allowing individuals to make small contributions that are then matched by a limited amount of public funds." 48% of Democrats and 36% of Republicans strongly agreed, while 24% of Democrats and 26% of Republicans agreed somewhat. (31% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats disagreed with the premise of this one.) 

Back to agreement on the next statement, though. 87% of Democrats strongly and 4% of Democrats somewhat agreed (total of 91%) that "Super PACs and special interest groups that run campaign ads should have to disclose where their funding comes from." Among Republicans it was 82% strongly and 9% agreeing somewhat (total, the same 91% as Democrats).

The same totals between Democrats and Republicans, 88%, agreed that "the Securities and Exchange Commission should require corporations to disclose the amount of money they spend on political campaigns." There was predictably less agreement on one involving an executive order. 78% of Democrats but only 66% of Republicans agreed that "President Obama should issue an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose the amount of money they spend on political campaigns."

And the last statement-- "The Federal Election Commission should be reformed so that it holds accountable candidates and organizations that break the law"-- was met with strong agreement by 81% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans and some agreement from 12% of each party's respondents. Everybody likes a nice dose of law-and-order.

I found it interesting that, almost across the board, among Republicans it was the supporters of Texas fascist Ted Cruz who were least in favor of reform. Take a look at these breakouts:

And, predictably, among Democrats it was the Bernie Sanders supporters who were the biggest advocates for reform. 

Solution? I wish it was as easy as supporting Bernie's campaign. It's isn't... but it's a step in the right direction, that's for sure. Because, let's face it, this kind of behavior will always be rewarded... until people take action to make sure it isn't:

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