Christina Tobin, the founder and chair of Free and Equal, sits down with Dennis to discuss our Democracy in crisis and the United We Stand Festival Tour. The motto of Free and Equal is More Voices, More Choices. “We believe that freedom is enhanced when voters are presented with all the sides to an issue and have a chance to fairly evaluate all the candidates running in an election. However, the incumbent political parties like to define the parameters of the debate by presenting only two choices, or two versions of the same idea. With the privately> run Commission on Presidential Debates, Republicans and Democrats go to great lengths to exclude candidates not belonging to their own parties by setting restrictive qualifications to participate in the debates sponsored by their interest groups and then refusing to show up at debates where all candidates are invited.
On Acronym TV this week, two individuals working to fix our Democracy in crisis. Christina Tobin is the founder and chair of Free & Equal. She has a long history of supporting ballot access, having gathered and defended over 1 million signatures for the Green Party, Constitution Party, Republican Party, Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, Socialist Equality Party and independents. Free & Equal Elections Foundation is a non-partisan grassroots organization, whose mission is to shift the power back to the individual voter through education. Their motto, “More Voices, More Choices.” Daniel Lee is a lifelong activist. He serves on the national leadership team for the group Move to Amend, which is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy; Move To Amend is calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in McCutcheon V. FEC, the court struck down a limit on how much cash an individual could give to all federal candidates during an election cycle. In the 5-4 decision, the majority of justices on the Roberts court ruled that individuals could buy elections. Or, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, “government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford.” In the dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Bryer, did not hold back in voicing the disgust felt by an overwhelming majority of Americans (if not by a majority of Supreme Court Justices) in writing that the majority’s “legal analysis is faulty: It misconstrues the nature of the competing constitutional interests at stake. It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions. It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign.”