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Who and What Can Possibly Save American Democracy? 4 Key Questions

We’re deep in the hole with Citizens United and unlimited campaign spending. How should we try to resolve this problem?

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That discussion—with its comparisons, a decision tree and diagnosis of the problems—has yet to be constructed or occur. If there is good news from Tuesday’s hearing, it is that Democrats do not need convincing that the problems of big money in politics need a big solution. They agree. But they also need Republicans who abhor the current system to join them. In the past, Republican senators did propose or co-sponsor amendments to do just that, Udall said.

But it is an open question whether today’s Republicans (and Democrats) will be so beaten up by the excesses of money—from both sides of the aisle—in the 2012 campaign that November’s victors will want a solution that dismantles the current campaign finance system. In the past, winners of elections tend to want to preserve the system that awards them power. And their contributors or patrons want to see returns on their investments. 

Steven Rosenfeld covers democracy issues for AlterNet and is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

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