By MARC McDONALD
I'm still in a state of shock over the Democrats' stunning election success, which turned out far more promising than most of us had ever anticipated.
It's hard to believe that we now have a government that can tackle issues that many of us had given up for dead a long time ago. (Does anyone remember the Kyoto Protocol?).
Indeed, there's a long shopping list of items that now actually have a chance of passing. A minimum wage hike. Better access to affordable health care. A halt to the socialism-for-the-rich of Dick Cheney's Halliburton. An end to this insane Iraq War. And on and on.
Democrats are already looking the options for their agenda for the next couple of years.
Things are definitely going to change for the better in Washington in the coming months. But there's one profound way the Democrats could change America for the better that could last a lifetime and make our government infinitely more responsible to the people: publicly financed elections.
No doubt, this will be an enormously difficult challenge. But there isn't a politician alive who doesn't realize that the only way to true, lasting reform in America's political system is to drain the swamp of campaign contributions in Washington. The latter has not only corrupted our politicians---but our very political system itself.
Spending on political races is out of control these days, with billions of dollars flowing through each election cycle. By the time a political is elected these days, he or she is already bought and paid for by special interests.
The only way to end this merry-go-round of corruption is to introduce a system of publicly financed elections.
If the incoming Democratic Congress really wants to be remembered for changing America for the better forever, then introducing publicly financed elections is the way to do it. It's the one issue that profoundly impacts all other issues in Washington.