Summary of Dollarocracy

How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America

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Dollarocracy book summary
Big money, microtargeting and slipshod journalism are not what the Founding Fathers intended.


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The US Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision made many Americans aware of the influence that money has on their nation’s political processes. Journalist John Nichols and professor Robert W. McChesney contend that undemocratic corporate influences have been taking over politics for years. They lay out a convincing case that the demise of campaign-finance reform, the ascendancy of “digital politics” and the sad state of American journalism combine to remove governance from the hands of the people and put it squarely in the laps of corporate bigwigs. Nichols and McChesney believe that only massive reform will save democracy. They thoroughly cover what they think money can – and, fortunately, cannot – buy. They sometimes engage in false equivalencies (e.g., that both American parties are the same) that weaken their arguments. They also don’t acknowledge that the digital campaign methods they abhor could help Americans organize the reform movement they advocate. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends this instructive investigation to all Americans who want to understand how their government works and why their voices should matter.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why corporate influence, a weakened press, and unlimited campaign ads and contributions jeopardize US democracy
  • How America can restore democracy to the people


Money Changes Everything
In a democracy dominated by corporate interests and money – a “Dollarocracy” – citizens feel separated from and helpless within the political process. As a result, voter turnout gradually declines. The United States is close to becoming a total dollarocracy. While...
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About the Authors

Pioneering political blogger John Nichols, a newspaper editor in Madison, Wisconsin, also writes for The Nation. Robert W. McChesney teaches communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-founded Free Press, a national media reform organization.

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