WASHINGTON, D.C.–People For the American Way today signed an open letter that was sent to all 2020 presidential candidates urging them to prioritize comprehensive democracy reform in their campaign platforms. The letter was written and signed by a coalition of more than 100 democracy, environmental, faith-based, good government, civil rights, and other groups from the Declaration for American Democracy Coalition. You can view the letter here.
“The next president of the United States must commit to a comprehensive democracy reform agenda that returns power to the people,” PFAW Executive Vice President Marge Baker said. “We must prioritize ending the corrosive influence of big money, voter suppression, and corruption in Washington, D.C.”
Polls show that Americans of all political affiliations want fundamental changes in our democratic process. Below is a list of the reforms that PFAW urged all candidates – Democrats and Republicans – to campaign on and ultimately make policy priorities once in office.
- Expand the right to vote and make it an easier, more inclusive process. This entails early and absentee voting, improving access to polling stations, restoring former felon’s voting rights, and allocating more funding for election security.
- The executive and legislative branches must operate under stronger, more enforceable ethics laws. The next president should endorse, prioritize, and work aggressively with Congress to pass legislation that strengthens and expands federal ethics rules.
- End the dominance of big money in our political system. This means setting limits on campaign contributions, empowering and incentivizing small-dollar fundraising, and strengthening oversight of our campaign finance rules.
- Create more transparency over campaign finance donations and federal influence. This includes mandatory disclosure of corporate spending in our elections, more stringent disclosure requirements for politically-active nonprofit groups, more information about online advertising, and easy access to federal ethics and financial disclosure forms.
- Limit the revolving door and create stronger guidelines for the Washington influence industry. This includes policies that expand the cooling-off period for members of Congress and federal officials to become lobbyists, limit the role played by lobbyists in campaigns, expand the definition of lobbyist to eliminate loopholes, and prevent federal officials from profiting off their public service.
- Strengthen the checks and balances system to protect against bad actors. This involves implementing policies that ensure the president does not abuse the powers of government to settle political scores or place themselves or their friends and family above the law.
The next president of the United States must build on the foundation of the For the People Act, H.R. 1, passed this year in the House of Representatives and its Senate companion, S. 949. The future of our democracy depends on it. You can learn more about PFAW’s advocacy on H.R. 1 here.
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.