Fed Up With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Anti-Democracy Activities? So is an Ambitious New Coalition
If you have followed Chamber Watch for long, you are intimately familiar with the reactionary, anti-democratic agenda of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As the nation’s largest lobbying group, the Chamber is the poster-child for the toxic influence of moneyed interests in our system. As the largest spender of secret money on political advertisements, the Chamber ensures that the public remains unaware of who is funding it, allowing its billionaire donors to remain in the shadows while pouring unfathomable sums into our broken campaign finance system. And by bullying opponents into submission with overwhelming capacity for corporate litigation, it plays a key role in hindering government efforts to impose and enforce commonsense safeguards and reforms protecting consumers, workers and the environment.
The Chamber is a key bad actor, but it is not the only anti-democratic force in our system today. Our democracy is in crisis because of the influence of the corporate behemoths and billionaire donors on officials in power. The nexus between moneyed interests and office-holders has resulted in profoundly broken institutions that fail to protect average Americans the way they are meant to.
From voter suppression to open defiance of the rule of lawto unchecked ethical violations, American democracy is under a constant onslaught of attacks. The power of special interests in politics have been wreaking havoc on our democracy for decades, resulting in a nation where average Americans have very little say over the direction the country is headed in and which policies are being enacted.
But thankfully, a new coalition of over 100 organizations inside and outside Washington, representing a diverse range of issue areas and constituencies, has emerged to confront the monstrosity of corporate moneyed influence. The member organizations individually advocate for a number of different issues, but all of them commonly recognize that the only way to move forward on their particular issues is to start with foundational, systemic reforms. This coalition, the Declaration for American Democracy, made its formal debut via a press conference on October 30. Now, following the midterm elections, the Declaration for American Democracy is committed to advocating for a large number of top-to-bottom reforms to address America’s crisis of democracy, starting with demands made of the 116th Congress.
The basic demands of the Declaration for American Democracy are:
- Our democracy must ensure the freedom to vote and have that vote counted.
- Our democracy must be honest.
- Our democracy must have meaningful participation.
- Our democracy must provide transparency into our government and our elections.
- Our democracy must be responsive.
The U.S. Chamber is a massive wrecking ball, bringing destruction to our democracy through its multipronged efforts of lobbying, secret money campaign finance spending. It and other groups representing massive corporate and billionaire funds have caused tremendous damage to our democracy.
But it is not too late to repair our democracy, and bolster its foundations to prevent this kind of crisis from ever arising again. By following the Declaration for American Democracy and supporting its efforts, you can take action to demand much-needed structural reform to our system. This is our democracy—not the U.S. Chamber’s, nor wealthy donors’. It’s time we reclaim it.