The Trump Administration has made it brutally obvious: our democracy is in desperate need of repair. Members of Congress roll out of office and into lucrative lobbying and consulting groups. Right-wing ideologues systematically disenfranchise African Americans, immigrants, and the poor, and the Supreme Court levels attack after attack on voting rights.
Worse still, elected officials pocket massive checks from private interests like pharmaceutical companies, defense contractors, and fossil fuel companies to do their bidding in Congress. But we can end this revolving door of favoritism and corruption by instituting a lifetime ban on Members of Congress and Cabinet Secretaries from becoming lobbyists. Public officials need to serve the interests of the public, not industry, and serving in office cannot be used as a fast track to a golden parachute.
Finally, I would join with colleagues in introducing a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the Citizens United decision. We cannot guarantee our elections are free from undue influence until secret organizations and big industries are once again banned from dumping unlimited, undisclosed cash into advocacy and electoral campaigns.
Voting is one of our most cherished rights as citizens. With the destruction of the Voting Rights Act however, that most sacred of rights is under attack. All across this country, people of color have been singled out with discriminatory voter ID laws, polling place closures, and modern day poll taxes.
We need to stand up for the rights for which so many have fought and died. To reach young people and new citizens and welcome them to our electoral process, we need to implement an automatic voter registration system, which will register every eligible voter and give them the choice to opt out if they decide. And to end this new era of Jim Crow-style voter suppression, we need to pass legislation in Congress to revive the Voting Rights Act and explicitly authorize the Department of Justice to apply renewed scrutiny to states that have histories – and present-day practices – of disenfranchisement and voter suppression.