About Save American Democracy
Save American Democracy is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with one goal: to build support among Americans of all political persuasions for the Democracy Dollars campaign finance reform. Our concrete near-term goal is to persuade the House Ways and Means Committee to hold hearings on Rep. Ro Khanna’s Democracy Dollars Act, so we began our activity by organizing volunteers and voters in the districts of Representatives who sit on this committee.
Democracy Dollars was invented by two Yale Law School professors, Bruce Ackerman and Ian Ayres, in their book Voting with Dollars (Yale University Press). The concept is straightforward: right now, the biggest problem with our political system is that election campaigns are extremely expensive, and candidates get the money for their campaigns from the people who have it – big business and a small number of very wealthy individuals (organized labor donates a significant but much smaller fraction of this money). These high-dollar campaign donors are the only Americans with real influence in our politics. Politicians no longer listen to the voters – they listen to their donors.
Big money has not only taken your vote away. It has broken our political system. There are thousands of major donors, and each one has some ability to block policies they don’t like. The result is a government which is enormously wasteful and can’t get anything done, so it doesn’t even work for the donors. For example, we can’t make healthcare cheaper because insurance companies and drug manufacturers use their political clout to keep costs high and ensure their profits, and we can’t cut the cost of doctors’ malpractice insurance, because trial lawyers make major campaign contributions. Since they know that politicians don’t listen to them and don’t respect them, the American people are very angry about politics, and they turn their anger on Americans who belong to the opposing political party. Because neither politicians nor the media explain the money problem, most of us do not understand that other Americans are not our enemy – our enemy is the money which broke our government and stole our vote.
Save American Democracy is not against any individual or any party. Through our crusade, we expect to unite Americans of all parties, races and creeds. We all deserve a voice in our government, and the democratic ideal is the essence of American patriotism. Democracy, above all, made this country great. The democratic patriotism of the American people will be our salvation, as it has been so many times in our history.
About Dan McMillan:
Founder and Executive Director of Save American Democracy is Dan McMillan, a writer based in New York City.
Dan has a Ph.D. in German history from Columbia University, and a law degree from Fordham. He has worked as a book editor, as a history professor, and as a sex crimes prosecutor.
Dan left his job at the Brooklyn DA’s office to become a writer. In 2014 he published his first book, the acclaimed How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust. It explains, in an engaging journalistic style, what scholars like Dan have discovered about why the Holocaust happened. Learn more at Dan’s personal website: www.drdanmcmillan.com.
In 2014 Dan began writing a book about money in politics, but decided in 2020 that direct political action was more urgently needed, and established Save American Democracy.
In his youth Dan was a dedicated rock climber. He has climbed El Capitan three times, and he excelled in the practice of free soloing – climbing without a safety rope. Dan doesn’t scare easy, which is a good thing, as it will take determination for us to reclaim our democracy and fix our broken politics.
Help Dan break the tyranny of big money in politics, and make our government work for all Americans. Please donate at least $5, and visit the How You Can Help page to see other ways you can support our crusade.
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 Khanna’s staff drafted this bill in consultation with Profs. Ackerman and Ayres, who had invented the Democracy Dollars concept, and it was introduced in the House in 2018 and referred to the House Administration and Ways and Means Committees, but no further action has been taken. You can find the text of Khanna’s bill here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/7306/text; in March of 2019, Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced her own Democracy Dollars bill, but we consider it much inferior to the Khanna bill, because it only allows (and does not guarantee) the creation of Democracy Dollars systems at the state level in three states as an experiment. We think this is a half measure, and that the problem of money in politics is so urgent that we need to move directly to a nationwide system such as the one Khanna’s bill would create. The text of the Jayapal bill is here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1613/text.