Dear MoveOn member,
The Senate just took a historic step: A 54-42 majority voted "yes" on overturning Citizens United.
It's momentous: A majority of senators declared they were ready for a constitutional amendment stating that money isn't speech.1
But every single Republican senator opposed this amendment. Every single one!
From far-right ideologues like Ted Cruz—to Koch-bought obstructionists like Mitch McConnell—to "moderates" like Susan Collins.2
Today, we're holding them accountable. We're already up with a TV ad in Maine against "moderate" Susan Collins for her extreme position.
There were two different visions of the problem debated which showcased two very different visions of what it means to live in a democracy.
On the one hand, we heard Senator Elizabeth Warren warn that "when 32 people can outspend 3.7 million citizens, our democracy is in real danger."3
What she said made me angry—how did this happen in our country? It also inspired me—this is one of the most important fights in our generation. We are making progress. It won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight. But we can win.
On the other hand, I heard Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Chief Protector of the Status Quo. He's a gifted orator, but even he can't have really believed his over-the-top claim that "a little old lady" putting a sign on her lawn is the same as a multibillion-dollar international corporation pouring its company coffers into electing its preferred candidates.4 He also wrongly claimed that Saturday Night Live would be prohibited from producing political satire if this amendment passed.5
I had to laugh when I heard all this. But his words inspired me too, in a different way. Ted Cruz is a standard-bearer for the Republican Party—an increasingly backward, out-of-touch minority who unanimously sided with corporations over the public good. And now, we need to act to build momentum until senators like him are pushed out of the way—or out of the Senate.
Senator Warren: We're with you! And Senator Cruz: Corporations aren't people, money isn't speech, and a little old lady with a yard sign isn't the problem.
This is a clear issue: 80% of Americans—Democrats, Independents, and Republicans—want to see less corporate money in our elections.6 MoveOn members have been tapping into that energy, calling senators, showing up at their offices, and making sure the media is paying attention.
Just a few weeks ago, yesterday's vote would have been unimaginable. But our members helped force fence-sitters to pick a side and forced the Senate to take up this issue.
Over 180,000 MoveOn members signed Senator Bernie Sanders' petition in support of this vote. MoveOn members generated a blitz of phone calls that pushed fence-sitters in the Democratic Party onto the right side of history. In the 36 hours before the vote, we made 2,500 phone calls.
And MoveOn donors chipped in over $200,000 over the past few weeks. We're putting that to immediate use: We're up on TV in Maine, calling out "moderate" Republican Susan Collins for taking an extreme position on this vote. And today—to hold Mitch McConnell accountable—we're participating in a media event with allies and preparing billboards.
That's the beginning. But there's much more to do. While a majority of senators voted to support overturning Citizens United yesterday, 60 votes were needed to advance the measure, and 67 votes are needed to authorize a constitutional amendment.
It's going to be a long fight—but we're in it for the long haul. We've already made Washington take notice. Help us keep up the pressure through the election and beyond.
This issue isn't going away. And until we have real action to overturn Citizens United, neither is this campaign.
Thanks for all you do.
–Mark, Alejandro, Justin K., Kate, and the rest of the team
1. List of Senators voting for S.J.Res. 19, U.S. Senate, September 11, 2014
2. List of Senators opposing S.J.Res. 19, U.S. Senate, September 11, 2014
3. "Sen. Elizabeth Warren Calls for Amendment to Overturn Citizens United," YouTube, September 9, 2014
4. "Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) On Campaign Spending Amendment," C-SPAN, September 9, 2014
5. "Ted Cruz: Citizens United amendment would end 'Saturday Night Live'," Daily Kos, September 10, 2014
6. "Broad Bi-Partisan Consensus Supports Reforms to Supreme Court," Democracy Corps, May 7, 2014
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