The leadership that America needs is to show/explain/convince/persuade her not that there’s a problem (we get that) but that there’s a solution. Specifically, that Congress — if it were pushed — could (1) change the way elections are funded, (2) end the polarizing inequality produced by political gerrymandering, and (3) secure the equal freedom to vote.
Bernie’s always been good on (3). He’s never made (2) an issue in this campaign (so far as I’ve seen). And while he’s indicated that he supports (1) “in the long run,” has not yet made any proposal about how, and did not mention the idea once in the debate.
This is exactly what Obama did in 2008. Again and again he talked about the problem of special interests and lobbyists. Again and again he rallied people to the idea that we must “take up the fight.” But never did he explain how it could be done, or commit himself to doing it first.
“But hasn’t Bernie promised an amendment to overturn Citizens United? And to appoint justices who would overturn Citizens United?”
Yes, he has. But as I’ve been arguing for years (and most recently in this piece in the NY Times), constitutional reform is not enough. And a plan that waits for a justice to die, or that imagines the Senate with 67 votes to propose an amendment, is not a plan.
This is not a tiny point. It is everything. Every Democrat since Clinton has promised reform. None has promised it as a day one issue. We should learn—seriously, can we finally learn?!—that “some day” in DC-speak means never. What we need is a commitment and campaign to make fixing our democracy primary.