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Research Report

Renewing Democracy After Citizens United

  • Susan M. Liss
Published: April 26, 2010

Citizens United shook all who care about American democracy. But even before the U.S. Supreme Court’s radical ruling handed vast new power to corporations and their allies, it was plain: our political system is broken. The forces of the status quo are greater than anyone could have imagined. Congress is dysfunctional. Special interests have generated gridlock and blocked change. This past year showed that unless we repair our democracy, the progressive agenda will stall. Voters and their sentiments will be effectively silenced.

But Citizens United may be an inflection point—a moment where a Court-created constitutional crisis galvanizes a strong response. A populist mood is rumbling throughout the public. Some 80 percent of those polled oppose the Court’s ruling. An innovative, impassioned reply to this conservative judicial activism can help revive civic energy. We have no choice: faced with Citizens United, we must fight back.

This publication explains what fixes are necessary to have in place in order to renew our democracy.