U.S. elections never have been perfect, say John Nichols and Robert McChesney, but after the record-setting $10 billion 2012 campaign, we’re now hurtling toward a point where the electoral process itself ceases to function as a means for citizens to control leaders and guide government policies—goodbye democracy; hello “dollarocracy.” Media experts Nichols and McChesney, authors of Dollarocracy, examine the “money-and-media election complex” they say has sapped elections of their meaning: the pay-to-play billionaires (and the politicians who do their bidding), the corporations 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 political advertising. This complex doesn’t just endanger electoral politics, they say; it poses a challenge to the DNA of American democracy itself.

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