Money in Politics

Conversation Guide

Is there a problem with money influencing our elections and then influencing the actions of elected officials? And if so, are there solutions that we can all agree upon? Increasing numbers express concern at the influence of big money in elections, especially since the supreme court's Citizens United ruling in 2010, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on our elections. From another perspective, money was always heavily involved in elections — and the voice of everyone in America (including leaders of corporations) should not be restricted in the free marketplace of ideas. What do you think?

Background Information:

While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before you Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

ONE: Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

TWO: Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
THREE:

What are your biggest concerns about money in politics?

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

Answer one or more of the following:

  • When it comes to money in politics, what is your primary concern right now?
  • Do you see money in politics influencing elected officials and policy makers? What specific stories can you share?
  • What in your life has been affected by money in politics?
  • What would you like to see happen about money in politics?
  • Where is the issue of money in politics on your top 10 list?

FOUR: Reflection

Answer one or more of the following:

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

FIVE: Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:

  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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