Last fall, Sightline Institute executive director Alan Durning joined Western Washington University (WWU) political science professor Sarah Weir, as well as Washington Policy Center president Dann Mead Smith in a panel discussion of campaign finance in American politics, moderated by WWU’s Paul Dunn.

“96% of Americans believe that big money has too much influence in politics. Unfortunately, 91% of people think there’s not much we can do about it.”

– Alan Durning, minute 9:40
Tweet This

Below is the full panel discussion. You can also watch it here.

The discussion includes a lively debate on the role of money in politics and whether publicly financed campaigns return political power to everyday people and allow candidates to spend less time dialing for dollars and more time interacting with regular voters, or if publicly financed campaigns actually threaten free speech.

The panel also touches on ways to increase voter participation, alternative voting systems (such as proportional representation), and the importance of democracy reform as a building block to larger progressive change in politics.


March 28, 2017