Plutocrats United

Author: Richard L. Hasen
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300216742
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Campaign financing is one of today’s most divisive political issues. The left asserts that the electoral process is rife with corruption. The right protests that the real aim of campaign limits is to suppress political activity and protect incumbents. Meanwhile, money flows freely on both sides. In Plutocrats United, Richard Hasen argues that both left and right avoid the key issue of the new Citizens United era: balancing political inequality with free speech. The Supreme Court has long held that corruption and its appearance are the only reasons to constitutionally restrict campaign funds. Progressives often agree but have a much broader view of corruption. Hasen argues for a new focus and way forward: if the government is to ensure robust political debate, the Supreme Court should allow limits on money in politics to prevent those with great economic power from distorting the political process.

Buying the Vote

Author: Robert E. Mutch
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199340005
Format: PDF
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"Campaign finance reform has always been motivated by a definition of democracy that does not count corporations as citizens and holds that self-government works best by reducing political inequality. In the early years of the twentieth century, Congress recognized the strength of these principles by prohibiting corporations from making campaign contributions, passing a disclosure law, and setting limits on campaign expenditures. These reforms were not controversial at the time, but conservative opposition to them appeared in the 1970s. That opposition was well represented in the Supreme Court, which has rolled back reform by granting First Amendment rights to corporations and declaring the goal of reducing political inequality to be unconstitutional. Buying the Vote analyzes the rise and decline of campaign finance reform by tracking changes in the way presidential campaigns have been funded since the late nineteenth century, and changes in the debate over how to reform fundraising practices. A close examination of major Supreme Court decisions shows how the Court has fashioned a new and profoundly inegalitarian redefinition of American democracy"--

Small Change

Author: Raymond J La Raja
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
ISBN: 0472024760
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Reformers lament that, with every effort to regulate the sources of campaign funding, candidates creatively circumvent the new legislation. But in fact, political fundraisers don't need to look for loopholes because, as Raymond J. La Raja proves, legislators intentionally design regulations to gain advantage over their partisan rivals. La Raja traces the history of the U.S. campaign finance system from the late nineteenth century through the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002. Then, using the 2004 presidential election as a case study, he compares the ways in which Democrats and Republicans adapted their national fund-raising and campaigning strategies to satisfy BCRA regulations. Drawing upon this wealth of historical and recent evidence, he concludes with recommendations for reforming campaign finance in ways that promote fair competition among candidates and guarantee their accountability to voters. Small Change offers an engaging account of campaign finance reforms' contradictory history; it is a must-read for anyone concerned about influence of money on democratic elections.

Campaign Finance

Author: Robert E. Mutch
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190274719
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In 2015, well over half of the money contributed to the presidential race came from roughly 350 families. The 100 biggest donors gave as much as 2 million small donors combined. Can we still say we live in a democracy if a few hundred rich families provide a disproportionate shares of campaign funds? Congress and the courts are divided on that question, with conservatives saying yes and liberals saying no. The debate is about the most fundamental of political questions: how we define democracy and how we want our democracy to work. The debate may ultimately be about political theory, but in practice it is conducted in terms of laws, regulations, and court decisions about super PACs, 527s, 501(c)(4)s, dark money, small donors, public funding, corporate contributions, the Federal Election Commission, and the IRS. Campaign Finance: What Everyone Needs to Know? explains those laws, regulations, and Supreme Court decisions, from Buckley v. Valeo to Citizens United, asking how they fit into the larger discussion about how we want our democracy to work.

The Justice of Contradictions

Author: Richard L. Hasen
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300228643
Format: PDF, Mobi
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An eye-opening look at the influential Supreme Court justice who disrupted American jurisprudence in order to delegitimize opponents and establish a conservative legal order Engaging but caustic and openly ideological, Antonin Scalia was among the most influential justices ever to serve on the United States Supreme Court. In this fascinating new book, legal scholar Richard L. Hasen assesses Scalia's complex legacy as a conservative legal thinker and disruptive public intellectual. The left saw Scalia as an unscrupulous foe who amplified his judicial role with scathing dissents and outrageous public comments. The right viewed him as a rare principled justice committed to neutral tools of constitutional and statutory interpretation. Hasen provides a more nuanced perspective, demonstrating how Scalia was crucial to reshaping jurisprudence on issues from abortion to gun rights to separation of powers. A jumble of contradictions, Scalia promised neutral tools to legitimize the Supreme Court, but his jurisprudence and confrontational style moved the Court to the right, alienated potential allies, and helped to delegitimize the institution he was trying to save.

Behind the Ballot Box

Author: Douglas J. Amy
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780275965860
Format: PDF, Docs
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Amy provides readers with all the relevant information needed to analyze and to choose from various voting system options. He brings together information and analysis about the full range of voting systems. The book is "one-stop-shopping" for those interested in learning more about voting systems and how to choose among them.

The Voting Wars

Author: Richard L. Hasen
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300184212
Format: PDF
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In 2000, just a few hundred votes out of millions cast in the state of Florida separated Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush from his Democratic opponent, Al Gore. The outcome of the election rested on Florida's 25 electoral votes, and legal wrangling continued for 36 days. Then, abruptly, one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history, Bush v. Gore, cut short the battle. Since the Florida debacle we have witnessed a partisan war over election rules. Election litigation has skyrocketed, and election time brings out inevitable accusations by political partisans of voter fraud and voter suppression. These allegations have shaken public confidence, as campaigns deploy "armies of lawyers" and the partisan press revs up when elections are expected to be close and the stakes are high.

Campaign Finance and Political Polarization

Author: Raymond J La Raja
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
ISBN: 0472052993
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Efforts to reform the U.S. campaign finance system typically focus on the corrupting influence of large contributions. Yet, as Raymond J. La Raja and Brian F. Schaffner argue, reforms aimed at cutting the flow of money into politics have unintentionally favored candidates with extreme ideological agendas and, consequently, fostered political polarization. Drawing on data from 50 states and the U.S. Congress over 20 years, La Raja and Schaffner reveal that current rules allow wealthy ideological groups and donors to dominate the financing of political campaigns. In order to attract funding, candidates take uncompromising positions on key issues and, if elected, take their partisan views into the legislature. As a remedy, the authors propose that additional campaign money be channeled through party organizations—rather than directly to candidates—because these organizations tend to be less ideological than the activists who now provide the lion’s share of money to political candidates. Shifting campaign finance to parties would ease polarization by reducing the influence of “purist” donors with their rigid policy stances. La Raja and Schaffner conclude the book with policy recommendations for campaign finance in the United States. They are among the few non-libertarians who argue that less regulation, particularly for political parties, may in fact improve the democratic process.

Why American Elections Are Flawed And How to Fix Them

Author: Pippa Norris
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 1501712748
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The flaws in the American electoral process have become increasingly apparent in recent years. The contemporary tipping point in public awareness occurred during the 2000 election count, and concern deepened due to several major problems observed in the 2016 campaign, worsening party polarization, and corroding public trust in the legitimacy of the outcome. To gather evidence about the quality of elections around the world, in 2012 the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP) was established as an independent research project based at Harvard and Sydney universities. The results show that experts rated American elections as the worst among all Western democracies. Without reform, these problems risk damaging the legitimacy of American elections—further weakening public confidence in political parties, Congress, and the U.S. government, depressing voter turnout, and exacerbating the risks of mass protests. Why American Elections Are Flawed describes several major challenges observed during the 2016 U.S. elections arising from deepening party polarization over basic voting procedures, the serious risks of hacking and weak cyber-security, the consequences of deregulating campaign spending, and lack of professional and impartial electoral management. Pippa Norris outlines the core concept and measure of electoral integrity, the key yardstick used to evaluate free and fair elections. Evidence from expert and mass surveys demonstrate the extent of problems in American elections. She shows how these challenges could be addressed through several practical steps designed to improve electoral procedures and practices. If implemented, the reforms will advance free and fair elections, and liberal democracy, at home and abroad.

Capitalism v Democracy

Author: Timothy K. Kuhner
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804791589
Format: PDF, Docs
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As of the latest national elections, it costs approximately $1 billion to become president, $10 million to become a Senator, and $1 million to become a Member of the House. High-priced campaigns, an elite class of donors and spenders, superPACs, and increasing corporate political power have become the new normal in American politics. In Capitalism v. Democracy, Timothy Kuhner explains how these conditions have corrupted American democracy, turning it into a system of rule that favors the wealthy and marginalizes ordinary citizens. Kuhner maintains that these conditions have corrupted capitalism as well, routing economic competition through political channels and allowing politically powerful companies to evade market forces. The Supreme Court has brought about both forms of corruption by striking down campaign finance reforms that limited the role of money in politics. Exposing the extreme economic worldview that pollutes constitutional interpretation, Kuhner shows how the Court became the architect of American plutocracy. Capitalism v. Democracy offers the key to understanding why corporations are now citizens, money is political speech, limits on corporate spending are a form of censorship, democracy is a free market, and political equality and democratic integrity are unconstitutional constraints on money in politics. Supreme Court opinions have dictated these conditions in the name of the Constitution, as though the Constitution itself required the privatization of democracy. Kuhner explores the reasons behind these opinions, reveals that they form a blueprint for free market democracy, and demonstrates that this design corrupts both politics and markets. He argues that nothing short of a constitutional amendment can set the necessary boundaries between capitalism and democracy.