A social movement is needed to reduce the excessive power of wealth to influence politics. Democracy Matters organizes students in the hope of building such a social movement. It seeks to achieve the enhanced political equality that could be secured with the public funding of election campaigns. Historically, young people have provided a moral compass for their elders, highlighting the need for social change. DM seeks to accomplish today what the civil rights, women's, and more recently the LGBTQ movements have achieved in creating a more just and inclusive society.
Change Elections to Change America is a report on the ongoing experiences of Democracy Matters. It was founded in 2001 when the professional basketball player Adonal Foyle provided initial funding. It has grown and brought the issue of the distorting impact of private wealth to the attention of literally thousands of students on campuses all over the United States. But at the same time it has not yet succeeded in bringing to life the kind of a social movement needed for such a radical change.
Change Elections to Change America describes the activities of Democracy Matters on campuses. It concludes with a positive assessment of the prospects for building a social movement in the digital age. Social media are invaluable tools that facilitate organizing. But they are no substitute for face to face dialogue and persuasion. Success will require a scaling up of organizing efforts. This book is written with the hope that the Democracy Matters experience will inspire others to do the political work that democratizing politics in the United States requires.