We demand Lester Holt, moderator of the first presidential debate, ensure that when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton arrive at Hofstra University on September 26th, they first debate democracy.
The power of money in our political system—who has it, who doesn’t, and what it's buying--has been a central theme throughout this presidential election season. In the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders animated millions of Americans by mobilizing individual $27 donations to effectively match the power of millionaires and billionaires. Donald Trump dispensed with his opponents by calling them puppets of big donors while committing to being “unbought” by lobbyists and special interests. Hillary Clinton has said reforming the way our elections are financed will be a “top priority” if she’s elected. At the same time, debate has raged from state houses to courthouses about voting laws, who should have access to the ballot, and whether our congressional districts should be fairly drawn.
These issues go to the very heart of who we are as a country – so many Americans are losing faith in our institutions and public trust in elected officials is at a record low.
Americans deserve to hear the candidates’ positions on the power of money in politics, how they’ll eliminate barriers to civic participation and their visions for how we will take a step toward achieving the promise of our democracy, a vision of political equality for all Americans.