With the start of the primary season, the race to the presidential election has officially begun. Looking beyond the excessively drawn out process and the innumerable wrong predictions by the media – discussed later in the show by Ari Melber – it has become apparent, yet again, that our system of democracy is up for sale to the highest bidder. After seeing $16 million dollars poured into Iowa by various Super PAC’s, the power of money in politics risen again. But, with the announcement of the New York City Council passing their own resolution challenging Citizens’ United, the tide may be turning.
As John Bonifaz, points out, the announcement of New York throwing its hat in the ring is “a great victory for democracy today.” The sort of action that is going to lend an undeniable momentum to getting money out of politics would seem to be in the sort of municipal action that is coming out of New York and Los Angeles.
With the addition of the Montana Supreme Court upholding a nearly one hundred year-old law banning corporate money from politics, the stage would seem to be set for us to revisit Citizens’ United in the U.S. Supreme Court.
And the powerful message that our system is being bought and sold by money is resonating throughout the country. Bonifaz explains that the movement “needs to go to parts of the country where people wouldn’t necessarily expect this kind of campaign to go.”
Montana may just be the beginning. The corporations that lost the case there will obviously be allowed to push for a review, which would elevate it to the Supreme Court. But supposing they are fearful of a review, noting the fervor and energy that is coalescing around getting money out of politics? As Bonifaz explains, “then every State in the union would be allowed to enact these kinds of limits or defend their existing limits.”
Which means we may very well be witnessing the beginning to the movement that will, finally, return the power of our system to the people it purports to govern. For the full discussion with John Bonifaz:
John Bonifaz is a Boston-based attorney and political activist specializing in constitutional law and voting rights, and founder of the National Voting Rights Institute.