(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
This past election saw the lowest voter turn out in 70 years, This happened for a number of reasons, one of which was uninspiring candidates who offered little to no policy agenda, voter fatigue (boredom?) and new voter ID laws that suppressed voters. Another factor that may have effected turn out was the $4 billion that was spent on this campaign flooding the airways with uninspired advertising that turned people off and the lack of an unbiased, independent media. Many candidates couldn’t get their message to the voters because they didn’t have the money for campaign ads and the corporate owned media, with its own agenda, favored certain candidates.
This week Bill Moyers spoke with two academics who got involved this election attempting to spark public interest without the big money. They related their experiences and the lessons they learned about the state of the American democracy.
Lawrence Lessig, who teaches law at Harvard, is a well-known Internet activist and campaign finance reform advocate. This election cycle, he started a crowd-funded SuperPAC aimed at reducing the influence of money in politics. Lessig tells Bill: “Our democracy is flat lined. Because when you can show clearly there’s no relationship between what the average voter cares about, only if it happens to coincide with what the economic elite care about, you’ve shown that we don’t have a democracy anymore.”
Zephyr Teachout, a professor of constitutional and property law at Fordham Law School, ran against New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary. She received more than a third of the vote and carried 30 of the state’s 62 counties, surprising everyone – including Cuomo. “When you talk about the corruption in Congress, people are talking about the same thing that Madison was talking about. This sense that our public servants are just serving themselves,” Teachout tells Bill.