For too long our democracy has been compromised by corporations and the 1% using our broken campaign finance system to legally bribe our politicians. A study conducted by Princeton in 2014 proved that the US is an oligarchy, not a democracy. The most glaring proof of this conclusion is apparent in the tables below:

There is virtually no change in the likelihood of policy passing even if ALL Americans want something. Yet the more the elites want something, the more likely it is to pass. The same elites that utilize our broken campaign finance laws to lobby and bribe weak politicians to get their way.

The only way we will get our democracy back is through evicting corporate cash from our political system. When private interests get candidates elected they are beholden to them. BUT if candidates get elected through public financing, they would be beholden to public interests. To many politicians in this current corrupt system this idea seems radical; I just call it democracy.

Public financing already exists in some of our cities. Richmond is one of 6 charter cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, and Richmond) throughout California that has taken advantage of laws allowing for public financing of elections. Berkeley will be the 7th city to use public financing in its City Council races starting next year. We in the RPA benefited a lot from this. It helped us to get a super-majority elected. I encourage all activists to take local advantage of this law and get local city councils to pass ordinances implementing partial funding and matching funds for local elections. Corporations and developers who generally control city councils are of course opposed to this. They cite other priorities for city money as if having fair elections shouldn’t be a key priority.

There are 400 chartered cities in California which could be pressured by citizens to implement publicly funded city electionsYet again another example of when we organize locally and fight for progressive change, we win.

Having taken that mentality and fought corporations like Chevron in Richmond, and winning, I know how we can take this battle to the statehouse. Our democracy has been hijacked and it is a top priority of mine to evict corporate cash from our system and replace it with public financing at the state level.

Together we can and will win back our democracy, the future of our country depends on it.