Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the latest politician to call out the negative impact big money has on the political process. In an interview this week with Public News Service, Senator Manchin said:
I've watched people being afraid to make a vote because they're afraid of how much money is going to be spent against them. How much time, effort and money they'll need to defend themselves. And that's a sad scenario.
Manchin fears that the trend favoring big money will not come to an end anytime soon,
Billion-dollar presidential race, are you kidding me? In 2016 that'll be for starters. The country's going to the highest bidder, I believe. Or it's perceived to be going to the highest bidder. You're going to have a few people who are able to play the game and that'll be it.
That’s why Manchin supports the proposed constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics — the Democracy for All Amendment — as a way to put a limit on the distorting influence of outsized spending by corporations and billionaires on our democracy. In Manchin’s words,
Someone has to call a truce here. Get some civility back, and some common sense. There has to be transparency. We've got to put a cap on this. Maybe we could get some Republican support to where we might have a chance of getting it.
Until recently, campaign finance reform proposals have been bipartisan efforts. The first campaign finance regulations, like the Tillman Act of 1907 that banned corporate campaign contributions, were passed with Republican leadership. More recently the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act was passed with the bipartisan leadership of former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
It is time to have a government that promotes democracy for all rather than democracy for the few. The Democracy for All constitutional amendment cosponsored by Manchin advancing in the Senate is a common sense proposal that would help us take back our democracy from billionaires and corporations. Senator Manchin is right to call for such an amendment.