Strategy for Democracy: Why and How to Get Money Out of Politics

412 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2017 Last revised: 12 May 2018

Date Written: 2018


Even President Trump's inaugural identified as his central issue "whether our government is controlled by the people." Polls show this to be a leading public concern that is ignored by the bipartisan political establishment which controls government for the plutocrats who pay to play instead of for the people who vote. (Ch. 1) This issue of failed democracy likely accounts for Trump's victory over the Clintons' plutocratic political machine which offered more diversionary identity politics but no plausible solution to the systemic political corruption Trump described. See also this author's "The Amendment Diversion,"

That plutocratic rule generates extreme inequality while threatening catastrophe on several other vectors is focusing increased public attention on its cause. (Ch. 2). While some recognize the cause of political corruption, no one, much less Trump, has offered an effective strategy to solve the deepening problem that democracy has been replaced by plutocracy. (Ch. 3) Bernie Sanders who made this issue a cornerstone of his campaign against Clinton had no better strategy to offer than the futility of advocating a constitutional amendment. This is the standard diversion from effective anti-corruption strategy that is offered by the corrupt Democratic Party and its professional activist allies. Citizens United has been the diversionary target of such advocacy, though it is of minor importance to the systemic problem. Even worse is the professional activists' sloganeering about corporate personhood which is rooted in a fiction about what the infamous Citizens United decision in fact held. (Ch. 4)

The immediate cause of the current crisis of democracy is not the lack of constitutional text by amendment, but a judicial supremacist Supreme Court (Ch. 5). Plutocracy precludes progressive amendments. (Ch. 6) Judicial supremacists, in any event, distort the meaning of amendments as they have the First Amendment, which nowhere requires a democracy to tolerate either influence peddling by elected representatives or the financing of paid plutocratic propaganda in elections as a form of payment. The supremacist Court's 1976 ruling that it does, based on shell-game logic, and in violation of several fundamental and historically recognized constitutional principles, has ushered in a second Gilded Age, the current Buckley-era of systemic political corruption. The fraudulent idea that constitutional amendment is the "one option" for reform is largely propagated by the Democratic Party and its professional activist allies. The truth is that there are several alternative reforms, such as conflict of interest recusal rules. which would be both much easier to adopt and would -- unlike an amendment -- be systemically effective if they were. (Intro. & Ch. 7) Professional activists who market the amendment diversion as if it were a cure for this problem have objectives other than restoring democracy. (Ch. 8) The history of constitutional amendments teaches that this commonly touted, but seldom analyzed amendment "solution" is a counterproductive waste of political energy, especially if used to counter an act of judicial supremacy. (Ch. 9)

This book exposes the general void in contemporary strategic thinking on the historical and still central progressive objective of overturning plutocracy. Chapter 10 describes the essential Swing Issue Voting strategy by which progressive voters can employ strategic voting in support of sustainable reform. No other vote is effective in a systemically corrupt political order. The book rejects the fraudulent claim that a constitutional amendment is the only available strategy by suggesting several effective and sustainable systemic reforms to solve the contemporary crisis of democracy within the provisions of the original Constitution, such as model language for restoring the ethical obligation of conflict of interest recusal by either state or federal incumbents. (Ch. 11). It proposes a fully realized draft of a federal statute for another such reform, that would make a useful initial demand for effective national reform as well as a starting point for further strategic discussion of other systemic anti-corruption reforms. (Ch.12)

Keywords: anti-corruption, plutocracy, judicial supremacy

Suggested Citation

Hager, Rob, Strategy for Democracy: Why and How to Get Money Out of Politics (2018). Available at SSRN: or

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views