To understand the harmful consequences of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has had on our political system, look no further than TV screens in Ohio.
Election Day is 10 months away, but outside influencers have already spent millions of anonymous dollars to run negative and nasty campaign commercials.
Ohio isn't alone. Across the country, in the presidential primary, the number of television ads paid for by outside groups has skyrocketed by 12,000 percent since 2007. That's not a typo: 12,000 percent.
The Citizens United earthquake sparked a tidal wave of unlimited and undisclosed corporate cash that has infected our politics and diseased our democracy. It's created a rigged system in Washington, D.C. -- one that gives corporations and their armies of lobbyists an unfair leg up over middle class families.
It shouldn't be like that. This Citizens United disaster has to end.
That's where we come in. Our name -- End Citizens United -- and our mission are one in the same. We're out to create a level playing field in our political system because we don't believe lobbyists and the wealthiest corporations should call the shots. We, the people, should.
This year, and beyond, we'll throw our support to candidates who are willing to stand up to corporate fat cats by ending Citizens United and passing real campaign finance reform.
In Ohio, we're proud to support former Gov. Ted Strickland for the U.S. Senate. Strickland showed that he gets it when he told an Athens crowd that, with unlimited anonymous dollars influencing politicians, "We are in danger of having our country bought and sold."
Between Strickland and incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, only Strickland has called for an end to Citizens United. In fact, Portman has stood squarely in the way of ending the big money that is corrupting Washington. He's become a part of the problem, and to reward him, the same corporations and wealthy billionaires he's been helping are lining up to run negative political ads against those who dare to challenge him.
We don't have to fall for it. We have the power to change things.
A recent poll showed that 78 percent of Americans -- Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike -- want to overturn Citizens United. This year, let's make sure that the 78 percent support candidates who will work for us. Let's support a candidate like Ted Strickland.