Doug Schoen's American Casino Indicts a U.S. Political System Overrun by Money and Special Interests
Just in time for Election 2012, political analyst, pollster, and author Doug Schoen's American Casino: The Rigged Game That's Killing Democracy exposes the raw truth that millions of Americans have sensed for some time: that our political system has been taken over by insiders, elites, and big-money special interests. Whether it's coming from billionaire donors, militant labor unions, or shadowy "Super PACs," money has completely corrupted our two-party system. "Democracy in America," Schoen writes provocatively, "is in large measure gone."
In his bold and timely book, Schoen chronicles how, over each election of the last decade, political money has taken an increasingly dominant role in our political process. He shows:
- How the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform law ironically led to the explosion of independent-expenditure groups -- or "527s" -- like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that may have won the 2004 presidential race for George W. Bush.
- How massive spending from labor unions and other liberal special interests gave Democrats resounding victories in the 2006 and 2008 races.
- How 2010 became "the first Super PAC election," leading to huge gains for the GOP.
- How billionaires and Super PACs controlled the 2012 Republican primaries.
- Why 2012 will be the costliest and nastiest presidential election in American history.
Schoen chronicles the brief but explosive history of Super PACs. Unleashed by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision -- which legalized unlimited independent expenditures to support or oppose federal candidates, effectively removing restrictions on donations by corporations or unions -- Super PACs have transformed American politics. They have pumped enormous sums of money into campaigns, upended congressional and Senate races, and pushed both parties further to their left- and right-wing extremes.
But as Schoen argues, Super PACs endanger our democracy, shutting out the voice of ordinary American voters while making the electoral process a mere contest between competing elites -- from billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers on the right to the SEIU or AFL-CIO on the left. The result is a system less responsive, less effective, and certainly less democratic.
"We desperately need to take our democracy off the auction block," Schoen argues. "Only wholesale, systemic change can address the stranglehold that mega-donors, power brokers, and Super PACs now have on our political system." Schoen offers serious proposals for restoring democratic values and popular control over our elections, including:
- Amending the Constitution to reassert Congress's right to regulate campaign spending, and to revoke corporate personhood, thus invalidating corporate "speech rights;"
- Imposing much tougher disclosure requirements on Super PACs through legislation;
- Abolishing the specious distinction between candidate-specific Super PACs and the candidates' own campaigns; and
- Enforcing a new FCC requirement that broadcasters post online in the name of anyone buying time for political advertising, along with the air date and amount of the purchase.
Schoen's bottom line: "If this trend continues, our democracy, as we know it, is over."
Schoen will take you inside the 2012 campaign and explain how its outcome could well be determined not by the candidates, but by shadowy Super PACs and billionaire supporters. Schoen pulls no punches; he targets left-wing union bosses and shadowy and reclusive billionaires alike. This is the hidden key to the 2012 election and Schoen explains how it all works - as one of the few presidential insiders willing to tell all - without ideological bias or fear or favor!
As the country gets ready for another presidential election, Americans face continued economic hardship, and polls show they're more skeptical about their leaders in Washington than ever before. American Casino is the right book at the right time, speaking to the central issue in our politics: the failure of elites to address the needs of the American people. It will be THE book of this political season.
About the Author: Democratic Strategist, Fox News Analyst and Best-selling Author, Doug Schoen has been one of the most influential Democratic campaign consultants for over thirty years. Doug has advised President Bill Clinton, numerous governors and senators as well as NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. [more...]