Conventional wisdom has long held that Congress would never make fighting corruption and fixing the democratic process a top priority. Voters have many immediate concerns, including health care, jobs, and education, which crowd out esoteric issues such as campaign finance reform—or so the argument goes.
The 2018 midterm elections proved the conventional wisdom wrong. Many candidates in 2018 committed themselves to a more accountable democracy and demonstrated that commitment in how they conducted their campaigns. They ran on it, they won, and now they’re poised to move forward major legislation in the House of Representatives to do just that. New analysis from CAP this week breaks down the data on the number of candidates that committed to democracy reform policies, their reliance on small donors for support rather than corporate PACs, and the diversity of these new reform leaders. Members—new and old—support democracy reform in record numbers
This year, the incoming House of Representatives is poised to pass the most sweeping democracy reform legislation since at least the post-Watergate reforms of the 1970s. On November 6, Democratic candidates won a wave election to retake control of the House, in part by running on a platform of curbing Washington’s culture of corruption. Democratic leaders in the House, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), the head of the House Democracy Reform Task Force, have made clear that one of their first legislative priorities will be to pass changes to campaign finance, ethics, and voting rules.
They will do so with the overwhelming backing of the House Democratic caucus, including a substantial number of new members who campaigned on the need to reject special interests and restore public faith in American democracy. As the chart below shows, close to half of the members in the entering House have already committed, on the record, to following through on that message by passing a series of major reforms. (see Table 1)