We have yet to cast a single vote in the 2008 elections – but winners are already being picked.

We have yet to cast a single vote in the 2008 elections – but winners are already being picked.

Unfortunately, you’re probably not one of the pickers, because this is an exclusive, anti-democratic process controlled by corporate executives, lobbyists, and rich people who make high-dollar campaign contributions. Less than one percent of the American people participate in this “wealth primary,” yet they have a greater say in our political choices than the other 99 percent of us. Indeed, candidates spend most of their political time dialing for dollars and schmoozing with the rich, rather than discussing issues and talking to the folks.

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Well, say those elites who benefit from this plutocratic system, the Supreme Court has ruled that giving a ton of campaign funds is an exercise in “free” speech, so there’s nothing anyone can do to stop this money corruption of our politics and government.

Not so fast, slick. Senators Dick Durbin, Arlen Spector, and a hardy group of democracy fighters have come up with a way that frees the system from dependence on special-interest money. Called the “Fair Elections Now Act,” S.1285 sets up an alternative election fund for candidates who voluntarily agree not to take private-interest money. These Fair Elections funds would be available to all qualified congressional candidates in both the primary and general elections.

Modeled on the successful “clean elections” programs that have been established in seven states and two cities, the federal law would make ordinary voters count again, encourage regular people to run for office, and free office holders from the grip of big money. And, because it’s voluntary, the Fair Elections system is constitutional. To achieve America’s democratic ideals, we must refocus our politics on people, not on money. This vital bill makes that possible.

To learn more and get involved, call Durbin’s office at 202-224-2152.

“Durbin Calls on Congress to Reform Financing of Congressional Elections” June 20, 2007

“Overhaul of campaign fundraising takes a step forward,” www.publicampaign.org , June 19, 2007

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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