April 29, 2021
The For the People Act upholds conservative values by reforming our corrupt voting systems. It promises to restore the Founding Fathers’ vision for American democracy and empower the individual voter over corporations and parties. The Act will crack down on corruption in the Democratic party and hold Democrats as accountable, if not more so than, Republicans.
These sweeping reforms are also being made possible with a conservative budget. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the For the People Act would actually save taxpayers’ money, reducing the deficit by $1 billion.
Shining a light on dark money
Dark money refers to the unlimited sea of money with no traceable origin that is donated to influence political campaigns. It pays for millions of advertisements supporting certain politicians, but doesn’t allow you, the voter, to know who is paying for those ads.
In the 2020 presidential election, anonymous corporate donors spent $174 million in dark money on behalf of Joe Biden's campaign, more than six times the amount spent in support of Donald Trump. Of the 15 top-spending dark money groups, 12 contribute to liberal political campaigns.
Dark money is toxic because it leaves voters uninformed, encourages secrecy in our politics, and may even allow some, such as foreign nationals, to circumvent campaign finance laws. Once we start requiring politicians to actually earn the votes of those they represent, rather than relying on secret money, we will see honor and integrity return to our republic.
The For the People Act would shine light on dark money by requiring donors to disclose where their money is coming from. That means if a politician is being bought by a shady corporation, you would know about it.
Restricting lobbyists and super PACs
American democracy was founded on the idea of empowering the individual and keeping power out of the hands of a concentrated elite. Thomas Jefferson viewed corporations as a threat to democracy, and said he hoped to “crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
This pillar of democracy is starting to crumble; a fifth of the $4.9 billion raised by super PACs came from just eleven people. Plus, wealthy lobbyists with special interests spend billions every year to access and influence lawmakers. When a handful of elite individuals get to decide how billions of these dollars are spent, they get to decide our elections.
The For the People Act proposes a strategy for returning the power of elections to the people. It proposes incentivizing candidates to reject contributions from big corporations by increasing the value of donations from everyday Americans. With this new legislation, a $10 donation from an individual voter would become a $60 donation. The 6-to-1 matching system would be completely funded through extra charges from wealthy tax evaders and corporate lawbreakers, costing the taxpayers nothing.
Keeping elections fair and secure
Gerrymandering threatens the very basis upon which the Founding Fathers designed American democracy: representation. When politicians redraw voting districts to ensure their own reelection, regardless of what voters want, they undermine individual voting power and misrepresent their constituents.
With 35 states at high or extreme risk of gerrymandering, rigged voting maps are an imminent threat to our republic. While many have called out Republicans for redrawing voting district maps to favor their party, Democrats are actually responsible for some of the most egregious gerrymandering in states like Maryland.
The For the People Act would make gerrymandering illegal. It promises to improve transparency and accountability for the process of drawing voting district lines, and puts independent teams, rather than power-hungry politicians, in charge.