Campaign Finance Reform Explained With Cartoons

Campaign finance reform may be one of the most important issues in modern politics, but for many voters it remains a rather abstract concern. To help convey how the problem of big money in politics affects people in their daily lives, for the past three and a half months an online video contest has been accepting short video submissions, 30 to 90 seconds, portraying the problem of big money in politics from diverse perspectives.

For fourteen weeks one winner has been awarded $1,000 each Wednesday. The final $1,000 weekly winner prize, awarded last week, went to Bryan Warner for his video “Voters, Assemble!” This animated cartoon does an excellent job of illustrating how wealthy individuals and powerful corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to advance their interests in elections, by supporting candidates that they like and opposing candidates that don’t align with their interests.

The video features a band of super-villains known as the “Conglomerate of Evil” that live in an undersea volcano, where they plot to take over the world by flooding elections with secret money through the use of super PACs.

In the upcoming weeks, five $5,000 category prizes will be awarded as well as a $25,000 grand prize. The grand prize will be selected by a high-profile panel of judges including Michael Moore, Norman Lear, Dolores Huerta and Kathleen Turner. You can view all the videos submitted to the contest here, as well as the fourteen weekly winners.

The Democracy For All Video Challenge has been a project of People For the American Way and Say No to Big Money. The initiative is part of an ongoing effort to build support for a proposed constitutional amendment -- the Democracy For All amendment -- to overturn Supreme Court cases like Citizens United, which has enabled corporations and other outside interests to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. The amendment has significant support, with 41 cosponsors in the Senate and 144 cosponsors in the House. Additionally sixteen states, 650 towns and cities, and five million people have gone on record in support of an amendment to get big money out of politics.

Amending the Constitution may be a huge undertaking, but history proves it to be possible, with many of the great advances in social and political equality having been won through constitutional amendments, including the right of women and people of color to vote. The influx of big money has gotten far worse in the wake of the Citizens United decision, but as history has shown, ultimately it will be no match for “We the People.”