Take Government Back for the People
More than a generation of gerrymandering, private financing of public elections, and pay to play have resulted in a political process that is not responsive to the American people. The result is system that siphons our tax money into the pockets of a wealthy few while leaving our most pressing problems unresolved. As a first step to implementing our progressive agenda, it is essential that we restore control of our democracy to people - one person, one vote.
Get Big Money and Corporate Influence Out of Our Elections:
Our system of legalized campaign bribery is so entrenched that many people have become inured to it. But large corporate and private donations have come to dominate our politics, and our political parties. We need a Democratic Party that is free from the dominance of wealthy elites, large corporations, and special interests.
The Citizens United Supreme Court decision made an intolerable situation worse by removing the last few restrictions on private money in elections, opening the floodgates for unrestricted, untraceable money to flow into public elections. We believe that Citizens United must be overturned.
We support a strong system of publicly financed elections that level the playing field for candidates who are not beholden to big-money interests. CJPD candidates will set the example by not accepting money from untraceable sources or accepting donations larger than $250. Once in office we will fight tirelessly for reforms that will get big money out of elections including publicly financing elections, requiring transparency and public accountability, and overturning Citizens United.
End All Forms of Voter Suppression and Intimidation:
Around the country Republicans have changed the rules of voting, controlling who gets access to vote, to make it harder for poor people and people of color to vote. Since Jim Crow Laws were struck down by the courts and the Voting Rights Act, Republicans have taken to more subtle forms of voter suppression: placing fewer polling places in poor and minority neighborhoods creating intolerable lines, limiting voting during peak periods of African American voting, limiting polling hours making it harder for working families to vote. Voter ID laws are designed to make it harder for people who don’t have drivers licenses (predominantly poor people who vote Democratic) by requiring them to travel to a government office for the sole purpose of getting a get a new special ID. These actions are nothing short of a new Jim Crow era that we must resist at every level.
We must also work to ensure that our own Democratic Party is welcoming to new voices and voters, and is committed to holding fair and democratic primaries that foster a healthy debate within our Party and make it stronger.
We must increase access to voter registration and to voting to encourage and increase participation in our democratic process.
Gerrymandering is the process where politicians shape electoral districts for the purpose of manipulating the outcomes of elections. When in power, both Republicans and Democrats have tried to manipulate voting districts for partisan advantage. But most insidious is when both parties collaborate to create “safe districts” that favor incumbents. This is accomplished by creating districts where there is such a large partisan advantage one way or the other (70% or more of one party) so that the there is virtually no chance that the incumbent can be unseated in the general election.
In New Jersey, experts consider only 5 of New Jersey’s 40 Legislative districts to be “competitive” such that a challenger has a fair chance of winning an election. The result is that while only 28% of New Jersey residents approve of the job performance of the Legislature, most politicians get re-elected for life. And the winners of elections are determined by party bosses and inside deals long before most voters have a say. Politicians that have very little to fear from voters due to safe districts have very little reason to respond to our needs over those of their wealthy donors and business allies.
CJPD will work to create competitive districts based on normal geographic boundaries with balanced representation among diverse groups of people and party affiliations. We will also support the use of computer models to create districts that are fair and free of bias.
Stop Militarized Attacks and Criminalization of Peaceful Protesters:
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Our First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances has been under attack for decades. Protesters are routinely confined to so-called "Free Speech Zones" set up at political events (generally located so far from the event as to severely reduce the impact of the protest). When did our free speech become confined to government dictated "zones"? Most recently, the treatment of the peaceful protesters at Standing Rock was a national disgrace.
The freedom to assemble is among our most cherished rights, and we must be free to exercise it with undue, and unnecessary, acts of intimidation and harassment from government agencies.