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

317 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2017 Last revised: 13 Aug 2017

Date Written: January 23, 2017


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 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no one, much less Trump, has offered an effective strategy to solve the deepening problem that democracy has been replaced by plutocracy.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 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 amendments 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 influence peddling by elected representatives and 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, has ushered in this second Gilded Age, our current era of systemic political corruption. (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 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 reforms to solve the contemporary crisis of democracy within the provisions of the original Constitution. (Ch. 11). It proposes a fully realized draft of a federal statute of one such reform, that would make a useful initial demand for effective national reform as well as a starting point for further strategic discussion. (Ch.12)

Keywords: plutocracy, anti-corruption, judicial supremacy

Suggested Citation

Hager, Rob, Strategy for Democracy: Why and How to Get Money Out of Politics (January 23, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

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