The Massachusetts race for U.S. Senate is historic for two reasons. First, it resulted in the election of the first ever woman senator from Massachusetts. Second, it was the most expensive contest for a Senate seat ever. The two candidates spent a combined $70 million!
But if the vote for Elizabeth Warren was a clear, the vote against all of the money spent in her race and races across the country was even clearer. One million Massachusetts voters had the opportunity to vote on the Democracy Amendment Question, which calls for a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress and the states to limit political spending and affirm that corporations do not have constitutional rights, and 79% of them said yes.
Though largely spared from the $1.3 billion of outside spending unleashed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United this election cycle, Massachusetts voters, and their counterparts in Colorado, Montana, and dozens of cities across the country, sent an unequivocal message that they are fed up with money in politics and want a fundamental overhaul of the system. They understand that despite what the Supreme Court has said in Citizens United, and other earlier decisions, money is not protected speech under the 1st Amendment and corporations should not have the same rights as ‘we the people.’
And this was not just a liberal or conservative issue. Support was truly trans-partisan and cut across Democrat and Republican Party lines. Cities and towns in Cape, Essex, and Norfolk Counties that supported Senator Brown and Mitt Romney also supported the Democracy Amendment Question in large numbers. The same is true about neighborhoods in Boston, Middlesex County, and Western Massachusetts that supported President Obama and Elizabeth Warren.
Now that the voters of Massachusetts have spoken it’s time for our elected leaders to get to work on a constitutional amendment that restores a government of, by and for the people, not of, by, and for corporations and country’s wealthiest individuals.