Since Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced his constitutional amendment to redress the implications of Citizens United vs. FEC, and the Supreme Court rules on the Voting Rights Act, John Nichols and Robert McChesney have become the go-to journalists to discuss exactly how the electoral process has been corrupted by the fabulously wealthy individuals and corporations who’ve been legally freed to attempt to buy elections outright.
In their new book, Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America ($25.99), Nichols and McChesney -- two leading media experts -- examine the forces that have sapped elections of their meaning and stolen America’s democratic potential. When Barack Obama was reelected, some pundits argued that, despite unbridled campaign spending, here was proof that big money couldn’t buy elections. However, Nichols and McChesney have crunched the numbers and found that the exact opposite was the case. The 2012 election was a quantum leap: it was America’s first $10 billion election campaign. U.S. elections have never been perfect, but America is now hurtling toward a point where the electoral process itself ceases to function as a means for citizens to effectively control leaders and to guide government policies.
Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the author or editor of sixteen books. He is the President and co-founder of Free Press, a national media reform organization and hosts “Media Matters” on WILL-AM radio. He lives in Madison, WI.
John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written The Nation’s Online Beat since 1999 is their Washington DC correspondent contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times, he is also the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers and he is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. Nichols lives in Madison, WI and Washington DC.
Fresh from the first $10 billion election campaign, two award-winning authors show how unbridled campaign spending defines our politics and, failing a dramatic intervention, signals the end of our democracy.