Proposition 59 gives voters a chance to tell their own member of Congress to get big money out of politics and support an amendment to the United States Constitution to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Similar measures have passed in Colorado and Montana by three-to-one margins.
In the 2014 congressional elections, the candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives who spent the most money won 94% of the time. To get re-elected, politicians spend hours on the phone calling millionaires and corporate lobbyists to ask them for money. Is it any wonder, then, that if big donors want something different than what working families want, the politicians listen to the money almost every time?
It’s time voters started talking back. Proposition 59 would tell your member of Congress to take strong action immediately, by supporting a federal constitutional amendment and taking other steps to reduce the influence of big money in politics. This is how we can overturn misguided Supreme Court rulings such as Citizens United v. FEC that have said that unlimited campaign spending is a form of “free” speech and that corporations have the exact same constitutional rights as living and breathing people
Corporations play a vital role in our economy. But corporations aren’t people. They don’t vote, get sick, or need childcare. The Constitution was written to protect human beings, not corporations. The rights granted to corporations by the Supreme Court allow them to drown out the voices of real people – as voters, consumers and workers.
As the Sacramento Bee says:
“Of the state’s 55 representatives and senators, 34 have signed on to proposals for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pledges to pursue a constitutional change if elected, and Republican Donald Trump has also been critical of the ruling. The good government groups backing Prop. 59 make a plausible case that grass-roots voter support is more powerful than just the Legislature’s – and that a resounding “yes” vote in a congressional district could persuade fence-sitting lawmakers to support repeal.”
Send a message
Prop 59 is an important step in making our voices heard. After the election, we will need to hold Congress accountable to the wishes of their constituents. Californians have used similar voter instruction ballot measures to win constitutional amendments that have made our republic more accountable. We can do it again.
For a full list of California Labor’s 2016 endorsements, visit our Endorsements page here.
This is the third installment of California Labor’s Top Props, a blog series on priority propositions for working Californians. Click here to see other posts in the series.