Originally published on Huffington Post Politics on June 16, 2015 by Benjamin T. Brickner.
Americans are fed up with the increasing grip of big money on our politics. This month, a new poll found that 85 percent of Americans -- including more than 80 percent of both Republicans and Democrats -- believe our campaign finance system needs fundamental changes. Nearly as many are also disillusioned and deeply cynical about the possibility of a solution in the near future.Maine is doing its best to change that -- and in the process, providing a model for how states can push back against big money in elections without waiting for a divided and dysfunctional Congress to act. This year, Mainers will vote on a referendum to enhance its first-in-the-nation Clean Elections law, to confront the tsunami of big money triggered by U.S. Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United.Clean Elections has served Maine well for nearly two decades, allowing candidates to run competitive campaigns without relying on large private contributions from special interests. Public campaign financing has encouraged more diverse candidates to run, kept campaign costs under control, and enabled candidates to spend more time with voters, instead of the wealthy donors, corporations and PACs who fund traditional campaigns.
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