Americans don’t believe that their government works for them. And they’re right. They also know that all of the money spent in politics affects every decision made in Washington – and it’s not to the benefit of everyday, working families. Instead, mega donors and special interests have access and influence to lawmakers, members of the administration, and other decision makers that the rest of us don’t. At best, there’s an uneven playing field stacked in favor of the biggest donors. At worst, this corrupt pay to play system means that politicians are doing the bidding for the individual and corporate special interests who fund and support their campaigns at the expense of the American people.
In either case, this rigged system that gives more wealth to the wealthy and more power to the powerful is unacceptable. Time and again, polling shows that Americans of every party believe this is a top issue for concern, consistently ranking as the No. 1 or No. 2 issue among independents. Voters are calling for change.
Born out of that call is a new generation of leaders who are running for Congress to change Washington. Many of them are first-time candidates, non-politicians who decided to run for office because they saw the system fail, often firsthand. For some, it was a personal experience with the cost or access to health care. Others were veterans who couldn’t sit on the sidelines and watch the country they fought for continue down this path. For others, it was the opioid crisis, or lax gun laws, or watching Congress raise taxes on the middle class to pay for a tax cut for corporate donors.
Binding this class of candidates together is a common thread that we must reform Washington in a truly transformational way. We must end the corrosive influence of big money and change the pervasive culture of corruption permeates in the capital. These candidates have made this reform a central part of their campaigns. Many of them have declared they’ll be more transparent and accessible. Among their commitments include making their congressional schedules public, holding regular town halls and forums, pledging never to become lobbyists, or refusing to take corporate PAC and special interest money in their campaigns.