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Pro-democracy protesters gather during a rally held by the group Common Cause in front of the U.S. Supreme Court January 10, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Progressive Group Wants All 2020 Candidates on the Record Regarding Pro-Democracy Reforms

"Between now and Election Day, we must make sure candidates know how important democracy issues are to voters—and that we expect them to let us know where they stand on our common-sense democracy solutions."

Julia Conley

Arguing that the winner of the 2020 presidential election will need to embrace a number of pro-democracy reforms in order to improve the lives of all Americans, the grassroots organization Common Cause on Wednesday launched a campaign aimed at getting candidates on the record about a number of proposals aimed at expanding civil rights and increasing representation in Washington.

With the Our Democracy 2020 campaign, Common Cause sent all 24 Democratic primary candidates—as well as Republicans Bill Weld and President Donald Trump—a 17-question survey asking contenders about their support for proposals like the For the People Act (H.R. 1) and reforming the electoral college and the filibuster.

"No single solution will solve all the challenges our democracy faces, but this comprehensive agenda helps policy makers and voters know there are concrete steps we can take and proven solutions we can pass to make our government work for everyone," reads the campaign's website.

"Between now and Election Day, we must make sure candidates know how important democracy issues are to voters—and that we expect them to let us know where they stand on our common-sense democracy solutions," Common Cause added.

Questions on the survey address:

  • Whether candidates pledge to reject Super PACs and disclose their funders during their campaign
  • Whether candidates will work to enact the For the People Act and fix the electoral college, should they win the presidency
  • Whether candidates plan to restore net neutrality and appoint an attorney general who will protect voting rights by the end of their first year in office

The survey was sent to candidates in June, and as of this writing, six current Democratic contenders had replied to the questions.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) had all responded, as well as Pete Buttigieg, Marianne Williamson, and Gov. Steve Bullock.

Warren and Buttigieg supported all but one of the proposed reforms; Buttigieg said he would not back restoring voting rights to currently and formerly incarcerated Americans, while Warren entered no response for the question.

Sanders supported 15 of the 17 proposals; he did not enter a response about whether he would appoint a "democracy czar" and whether he would "fix the Senate filibuster."

Simply electing a democratic president, Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn suggested in a statement, is not enough to ensure a strong democracy where voting rights are respected and government decision-making is not done in favor of corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

"The 2020 presidential election must focus on how we can change our political system so every person has a voice and is truly represented in government," said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. "The 'Our Democracy 2020' campaign is an important grassroots effort to ensure voters know where candidates stand."

"From guaranteeing a right to basic healthcare to ensuring living wages to solving the climate crisis," she added, "the imbalance in our democratic system and the power of wealthy special interests is in the way of making real progress on these important issues and Americans need to know how presidential candidates plan to fix it."

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