Bernie Sanders on campaign finance reform

excerpt from email from Bernie Sanders, 5/9/15

Campaign finance reform: As a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, American democracy is being undermined by the ability of the Koch brothers and other billionaire families. These wealthy contributors can literally buy politicians and elections by spending hundreds of millions of dollars in support of the candidates of their choice. We need to overturn Citizens United and move toward public funding of elections so that all candidates can run for office without being beholden to the wealthy and powerful….

Full email follows:

Dear Friend –

As you know, I just announced my candidacy — and what a few days it has been.

While we will never raise as much money as our opponents who receive huge donations from wealthy individuals and super PACs, I have been amazed by the outpouring of grassroots financial support that we have secured. While my opponents hold fundraising events in which a handful of millionaires make huge contributions, we are gaining extraordinary support with modest contributions coming from the working families and middle class of our country.

That’s what my politics is all about. That’s what I want to do throughout this campaign. And I want to thank all of you for your support.

This campaign will take on the biggest challenges facing our country. We must stand up and fight back. We must launch a political revolution which engages millions of Americans from all walks of life in the struggle for real change.

Sign on to endorse our campaign’s progressive platform — click here to add your name. Here’s what this campaign is going to talk about:

Income and wealth inequality: In the United States today we have the most unequal wealth and income distribution of any major country on earth — worse than at any time since the 1920s. This is an economy that must be changed in fundamental ways.

Jobs and income: In my view, we need a massive federal jobs program which puts millions of our people back to work. We must end our disastrous trade policies. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. And we have to fight for pay equity for women.

Campaign finance reform: As a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, American democracy is being undermined by the ability of the Koch brothers and other billionaire families. These wealthy contributors can literally buy politicians and elections by spending hundreds of millions of dollars in support of the candidates of their choice. We need to overturn Citizens United and move toward public funding of elections so that all candidates can run for office without being beholden to the wealthy and powerful.

Climate change: Climate change is real, caused by human activity and already devastating our nation and planet. The United States must lead the world in combating climate change and transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainability.

College affordability: Every person in this country who has the desire and ability should be able to get all the education they need regardless of the income of their family. This is not a radical idea. In Germany, Scandinavia and many other countries, higher education is either free or very inexpensive. We must do the same.

Health care: Shamefully, the United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people. The United States must move toward a Medicare-for-all single-payer system. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

Poverty: The United States has more people living in poverty than at almost any time in the modern history of our country. I believe that in a democratic, civilized society none of our people should be hungry or living in desperation. We need to expand Social Security, not cut it. We need to increase funding for nutrition programs, not cut them.

Tax reform: We need real tax reform which makes the rich and profitable corporations begin to pay their fair share of taxes. We need a tax system which is fair and progressive. Children should not go hungry in this country while profitable corporations and the wealthy avoid their tax responsibilities by stashing their money in the Cayman Islands.

And these are just some of the issues that we will be dealing with.

Stand with me and endorse this platform for our campaign.

The struggle to create a nation and world of economic and social justice and environmental sanity is not an easy one. The struggle to try and create a more peaceful world will be extremely difficult. But this I know: despair is not an option if we care about our kids and grandchildren. Giving up is not an option if we want to prevent irreparable harm to our planet.

This country belongs to all of us, not just the billionaire class. That’s what our campaign is all about, but it cannot be won by me alone. That is absolutely for sure. To win this campaign, all of us must be deeply involved.

In the coming days, weeks, and months we need to hear your ideas as to what issues are most important in your communities. We need to hear your thoughts about how we can mount the effective campaign we need to win. We need your help in spreading the word so that your friends, neighbors and co-workers become involved in the effort.

Please stand with me. Please join the grassroots revolution that we desperately need.

Sincerely,

Senator Bernie Sanders

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Filed under 2016 election, US President

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