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Democracy Hero: Rep. John Sarbanes (Part Two)


Last April, as part of Democracy Spring the two of us marched from Philadelphia to D.C. with four game-changing demands for Congress: Get big money out of politics, ensure voting rights, improve voter registration, and reverse Supreme Court rulings that allow private wealth to defeat citizens' right to a meaningful political voice. We believe that a key reason for Trump's election is the anger of Americans who've felt voiceless because these popular demands remain unmet.

Although virtually ignored by corporate media, some in Congress did hear our voices—most notably Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD) who immediately collected roughly 100 Congressional signatures on a petition to hold hearings on our demands.

John Sarbanes is a hero to many, shining the light on the mother of all issues: democracy itself. Recently we felt honored to chat with him. Below is the second half of our conversation (see Part One here).

Frances Moore Lappé: Why has your focus been on empowering voters through your Government by the People Act rather than on a constitutional amendment to allow limits on spending in elections around which a lot of Americans have rallied?

John Sarbanes: The constitutional amendment approach is tricky. I worry that it won't completely satisfy the demand for change people really feel we need, and that it can end up in some ways aggravating people's sense of frustration.

One issue is procedural: It's hard to get a constitutional amendment passed in this country. Even under the best circumstances, it would probably take ten years. We don't have that kind of time.