In this Book

summary

Have campaign finance reform laws actually worked? Is money less influential in electing candidates today than it was thirty years ago when legislation was first enacted? Absolutely not, argues Rodney A. Smith in this passionately written, fact-filled, and provocative book. According to Smith, the laws have had exactly the opposite of their intended effect. They have increased the likelihood that incumbents in the House and Senate will be reelected, and they have greatly diminished the chances that candidates who are not wealthy will be elected. Smith's claims are supported by convincing data; he collected and analyzed information about all federal elections since 1920. These data show clearly that money matters now more than ever.

Smith thinks that reform legislation has created a new inequality for candidates that, if left unchecked, threatens to destroy the American electoral process by obliterating the foundational principle of free speech. He argues that "money buys speech" and when candidates lack money to buy media time and space they are effectively silenced. Their inability to "speak freely" violates the most significant intentions of our nation's founders: that a sovereign citizenry elect its own leaders based on a free exchange of ideas. For Smith, campaign finance reform has unwittingly unbalanced the checks and balances created by the Framers of the Constitution.

After presenting a detailed historical overview of how we have reached the present crisis, Smith proposes a simple solution: institute a process that completely discloses relevant information about campaign donors and recipients of donations. All disclosures would be available to the media, which would be able to investigate and report them fully. Only then, Smith believes, will the United States have the opportunity to be the democratic republic that its founders intended.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-xii
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  1. Preface to the Paperback Edition
  2. pp. xiii-xx
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xxi-xxiv
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  1. 1 The Folly of Reform
  2. pp. 1-14
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  1. 2 The Rise and Fall of Citizen Sovereignty
  2. pp. 15-20
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  1. 3 Rome: A Flawed Model
  2. pp. 21-24
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  1. 4 Citizen Sovereignty: The Dearest Thing of All
  2. pp. 25-32
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  1. 5 The Constitution and America’s First Political Campaign
  2. pp. 33-41
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  1. 6 American Democracy and Political Parties
  2. pp. 42-48
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  1. 7 What Is an Election, Anyway?
  2. pp. 49-53
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  1. 8 Political Campaigns and Money
  2. pp. 54-61
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  1. 9 The Perceived Corruption of Money versus the Real Corruption of Power
  2. pp. 62-77
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  1. 10 We the Sovereigns, Not We the Subjects
  2. pp. 78-88
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  1. 11 The Crux of the Problem
  2. pp. 89-97
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  1. 12 Supreme Court Mandates Run Amok
  2. pp. 98-120
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  1. 13 Empirical Evidence
  2. pp. 121-136
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  1. 14 Freedom of the Press
  2. pp. 137-143
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  1. 15 Political Fund-Raising: The Current Reality
  2. pp. 144-161
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  1. 16 The Twenty-eighth Amendment
  2. pp. 162-173
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 174-178
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 179-184
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 185-192
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780807156315
Related ISBN
9780807131282
MARC Record
OCLC
873806055
Pages
208
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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