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Friday, September 27, 2013

Money and Politics

An evening with authors of important new book
By David Segal

I'm writing to invite you to a free event at Brown next Wednesday, about the biggest threat to American democracy -- and how we can fix it.  It's cosponsored by a number of great orgs, including mine: Demand Progress.

On Wednesdayjoin Nation magazine DC correspondent/MSNBC contributor John Nichols and renowned communications scholar Robert McChesney for a discussion of their new book:


When: 7:00pm Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Where: Smith-Buonanno Hall, Brown University, Room 106
95 Cushing St. (corner of Cushing and Brown)
Admission: FREE
Event cosponsored by Brown Democracy Matters, DemandProgress.org, and RI Progressive Democrats of America.

About Dollarocracy


When President Barack Obama was reelected, some pundits argued that, despite unbridled campaign spending, here was proof that big money couldn’t buy elections. The exact opposite was the case. 

The 2012 election was a quantum leap: it was America’s first $10 billion election campaign. And it solidified the power of a new class in American politics: the fabulously wealthy individuals and corporations who are radically redefining our politics in a way that, failing a dramatic intervention, signals the end of our democracy. It is the world of Dollarocracy.

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. 


In Dollarocracy, two leading media experts—journalist John Nichols and academic Robert McChesney—examine the forces that have sapped elections of their meaning and stolen America’s democratic potential: the pay-to-play billionaires and the politicians who do their bidding, the corporations that have been freed to buy elections and the activist judges who advance their agenda, and the media conglomerates that blow off journalism while raking in billions airing intellectually and morally reprehensible political advertising.

The unprecedented tidal wave of unaccountable money flooding the electoral system makes a mockery of political equality in the voting booth. The determination of media companies to cash in on that mockery, especially by selling ad time at a premium to the campaigns—when they should instead be exposing and opposing it—completes a vicious circle. 


What has emerged, argue Nichols and McChesney, is a “money-and-media election complex.” This complex is built on a set of commercial and institutional relationships connecting wealthy donors, corporations, lobbyists, politicians, coin-operated “think tanks,” beltway pundits, and now super-PACS. These relationships are not just eviscerating democratic elections, they are benefitting by that evisceration.

With groundbreaking new research and reporting, Dollarocracy concludes that the money-and-media election complex does not just endanger electoral politics; it poses a challenge to the DNA of American democracy itself.

Click here to find out where to get Dollarocracy.