Democracy Derailed: The Initiative Movement and the Power of Money

Democracy Derailed: The Initiative Movement and the Power of Money

by David S. Broder
     
 

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

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Overview

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

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Editorial Reviews

Esquire
[Broder] has few challengers as the most influential political journalist in the country.
Tim Russert
Could money and technology actually hurt not help our democracy in the 21st century? David Broder lays out an insightful, compelling, and sobering scenario.
NBC's "Meet the Press"
U.S. News and World Report
[Broder is] the unchallenged 'dean' of what many political reporters like to think is their 'priesthood.'
Judy Woodruff
David Broder argues with passion that too much democracy is a dangerous thing. At the same time, he reminds us that it is our republican roots that are essential to our strengths as a nation; roots that we ignore at our peril. A must read for anyone who cares about our government and the direction in which it is headed at the start of a new century and the cusp of a revolution in communications.
CNN
Britt Hume
Good read, Good book.
Fox News Network
Lucent and fair . . . Broder is utterly convincing . . . [and] will get credit for raising the first warning flag.
New York Times Book Review
Lucent and fair . . . Broder is utterly convincing . . . [and] will get credit for raising the first warning flag.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Now available in 24 states and the District of Columbia, the voter initiative process has been used to abolish affirmative action, expand casino gambling and deny educational and health benefits to the families of illegal immigrants. It has forced yes-or-no votes on issues as diverse as nude dancing and term limits, and, according to Pulitzer prize-winning Washington Post and syndicated columnist Broder (Changing of the Guard), it threatens to subvert the American form of representative government by allowing millionaires and special interests to rewrite state laws. In this well-argued and often chilling study, Broder scrutinizes the initiative process and delves into what one critic calls a "multimillion-dollar cottage industry" populated by paid signature gatherers, pollsters and public-relations firms. He finds democracy run amok: three wealthy men changed the drug laws of five states; billionaire Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen threw cash into a campaign to publicly finance a stadium for the Seattle Seahawks, a team he owned. The public, in turn, was stunned by initiatives and counterinitiatives on which anti-abortion, anti-hunting and pro-casino gambling forces, among many others, spent a quarter of a billion dollars in the 1998 election cycle alone. The centerpiece of the book is a balanced but tough-minded analysis of Proposition 226, the so-called "paycheck protection initiative" defeated in California after a viciously fought battle in 1998. Broder dissects the sloganeering of both sides to confirm a lobbyist's cynical assessment of the campaign as "a lotta little lies fighting one big lie." As tensions rise between direct democracy and representative government in America, this book gives a provocative critique of the initiative process as a panacea for democracy's ills. Author tour. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Booknews
The Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist argues that the initiative process has boomeranged as an empowering recourse for reform-minded citizens, now serving a special interest "initiative industry" that threatens to subvert American democracy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Weed
Broder has written a remarkable book. Almost every sentence in Democracy Derailed is a reported fact, crafted into a narrative that is thorougly convincing.
The Washington Monthly
Chinni
Broder has great gifts as a political journalist. He is perceptive, honest, and an excellent reporter.
The Christian Science Monitor

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780151004645
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/21/2000
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

David S. Broder, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter and columnist, writers twice weekly for the Washington Post and is syndicated in more than 300 newspapers. He is a regular on NBC's Meet the Press, CNN's Inside Politics, and PBS's Washington Week in Review. He grew up in Chicago Heights, Illinois, and worked on the Bloomington (illinois) Pantagraph, Congressional Quarterly, the Washington Star, and the New York Times before joining the Post in 1966. He has covered every presidential election campagin since 1960. He is the author or coauthor of six previous books, most recetnly The Sysyten and the best-seller, Changing of the Guard. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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