One thing's clear after last night -- voters are going to continue to vote for change until they get it. Anti-Washington and anti-establishment fervor is at a high and members of Congress must respond boldly, or they'll risk their jobs come November.
Last night's election should not be narrowly cast as partisan infighting or purging. They showed an electorate that views Congress as out-of-touch with the wants and needs of Main Street. Now is not the time to think small about reform, whether it's regulating Wall Street or changing our political system. It's time for Congress to dramatically change a process that too often benefits a select few while leaving Americans to wonder whose interests their representative and Senators are championing on Capitol Hill.
Congress is trying to address this issue with the DISCLOSE Act, legislation aimed at blunting the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC. While this legislation will shine a light on corporate money in politics, definitely a good thing, it will not satisfy the demands of angry voters who will be barreling toward election booths this fall.
We need a proven comprehensive solution to fix Washington. The Fair Elections Now Act, legislation with the bipartisan and ideologically diverse support of 150 U.S. House members, would alter the way elections are financed in this country--putting the grassroots in control of elections, not big check-writers or political insiders.
The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week showed that 70 percent of Americans believe the federal government is either unhealthy or not working well. Forty six percent of these respondents believe government needs large reforms.
Over the last eight days, first In Utah and West Virginia and yesterday Pennsylvania and Kentucky, voters showed how on-the-mark that poll was. Left, right, or center -- voters want to make sure their voices are heard. Right now the only way they know how do that is at the ballot box. As political analyst Charlie Cook told NPR this morning, "they voted for change in 2006, they voted for change in 2008, and they are voting for change in 2010."
Voters want Congress to act in their interest and not the special interest. Members of Congress should be focused on creating policy to benefit everyday Americans instead of attending big money fundraisers on the rooftops of K Street lobby shops.
150 members of Congress have seen a way to make this happen and their colleagues should join them in passing the Fair Elections Now Act.
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