The First Amendment and the 28th Amendment: Money, Speech and Representation – American Promise
Most Americans believe in equal representation under the law, that having more money should not give someone a greater voice in our democracy. By protecting unlimited political spending as a form of speech under the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has determined that we do not all have an equal political voice. Equal citizenship has been transformed into a class system, with “super-citizens” whose wealth, according to the Supreme Court, entitles them to more representation, a louder voice, and more privileges than everyone else.
This system also undermines the ability of politicians to focus on voters and serve their constituents. Greater financial resources affords political candidates access to broader platforms, and thus greater likelihood of successful election and re-election. This forces politicians to make fundraising a key component of their work, in turn making elected officials more dependent on wealthy donors than voters for election and re-election and giving these donors greater access and influence to political processes and outcomes.
The First Amendment was intended to give all citizens a platform to express their thoughts and air their grievances. It was not intended to give wealthy special interests outsize influence over the American political process.
At American Promise, we are working on the local and national scale to pass a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that will limit the influence of big money in politics and restore First Amendment rights for people, not corporations.