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Democracy Derailed: Initiative Campaigns and the Power of Money

Broder, David S.

27 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0151004641 / ISBN 13: 9780151004645
Published by Harcourt, Inc, New York, 2000
Condition: Very good Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

260 pages. Map, bibliographical note, index, DJ slightly soiled, "Autographed Copy" sticker on front DJ, price sticker on rear DJ. Signed by the author. How political operatives and moneyed special interest groups are threatening our democracy. Bookseller Inventory # 54331

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Democracy Derailed: Initiative Campaigns and...

Publisher: Harcourt, Inc, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition. First Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

A new form of government is sweeping across America: the initiative process, available in half the states and hundreds of cities. Where once most state laws were passed by legislatures, now voters decide directly on such explosive issues as drugs, affirmative action, casino gambling, assisted suicide, and human rights. Ostensibly driven by public opinion, the initiative process is, in reality, manipulated by moneyed interests, often funded by out-of-state millionaires pursuing their own agendas. In this highly controversial book David Broder tells how this revolution came about. A movement that started with Proposition 13 in California is now a multimillion-dollar business in which lawyers, campaign consultants, signature gatherers, and advertising agencies sell their expertise to interest groups or to do-gooders with private agendas. Broder takes the reader into the heart of these battles as he talks with the field operatives, lobbyists, PR spinners, labor leaders, and business executives, all of whom can manipulate the political process. A James H. Silberman Book

Review:

Longtime Washington Post scribe David S. Broder, considered by many to be the dean of Beltway journalists, delivers a pounding attack on ballot initiatives in Democracy Derailed. Available to voters in half the states and in hundreds of municipalities ("from New York City to Nome"), initiatives allow citizens to skirt the legislative process and put measures directly before voters. And this, writes Broder, "is alien to the spirit of the Constitution and its careful system of checks and balances." Furthermore, it "threatens to challenge or even subvert the American system of government in the next few decades." Broder begins with a history of initiatives, which grew out of the well-intentioned Populist and Progressive movements, quickly arriving at the present day and the numerous controversial measures on subjects ranging from taxes to campaign finance. Much of the book is devoted to the 1998 election cycle, with particular attention paid to California's Proposition 226--the paycheck-protection initiative that would have limited the ability of labor unions to spend members' dues on political activities. The fact that it ultimately failed doesn't undercut Broder's message, because so many other measures have been passed in California and elsewhere. The real strength of Democracy Derailed, however, isn't in its arguments against ballot initiatives, but in its description of how the business behind them really works. Broder spots moneyed interests everywhere; others will merely see citizens choosing to spend their dollars on politics. On one point Broder is indisputably correct: initiatives represent a grossly "unexamined arena of power politics." With this book, they become better understood. --John J. Miller

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