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Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics

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And if that’s true, the key question for us at this moment in history is: how might our current system fail?

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The combination of unaccountable, unreported dark money and its use to create targeted (and contradictory) political messages for individuals and groups means that we have no way of knowing how free and fair our elections have become. The first is the massive concentration of corporate power and private wealth that’s been under way since the 1970s, together with a corresponding increase in inequality, social exclusion and polarisation in most western societies; the second is the astonishing penetration of “dark money” into democratic politics; and the third is the revolutionary transformation of the information ecosystem in which democratic politics is conducted – a transformation that has rendered the laws that supposedly regulated elections entirely irrelevant to modern conditions. The integrity and trustworthiness of elections is a fundamental requirement for a functioning democracy. And it has been able to do this in what has turned out to be a regulatory vacuum – with laws, penalties and overseeing authorities that are no longer fit for purpose.

Praise for Democracy for Sale: ‘Thorough, gripping and vitally important’ Oliver Bullough’A brilliant description of the dark underbelly of modern democracy. Publication dates are subject to change (although this is an extremely uncommon occurrence overall). Remainers will probably read Geoghegan’s account of this manoeuvring by Brexiters as further evidence that the Brexit vote was invalid.Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolsonaro and populists in many other countries are the beneficiaries. Politicians lie gleefully, making wild claims that can be shared instantly with millions of people on social media. Peter Geoghegan is a diligent, brilliant guide through the shadowy world of dark money and digital disinformation stretching from Westminster to Washington, and far beyond.

For example, Lawrence Lessig’s Republic, Lost and Jane Mayer’s Dark Money explained how a clique of billionaires has shaped and perverted American politics. One of the most striking points the political philosopher David Runciman made in his seminal book How Democracy Ends was that democracies don’t fail backwards: they fail forward.And in the UK, Martin Moore’s landmark study Democracy Hacked showed how, in the space of just one election cycle, authoritarian governments, wealthy elites and fringe hackers figured out how to game elections, bypass democratic processes and turn social networks into battlefields. Democracy for Sale is a diligent, brilliant guide through a shadowy world of dark money and digital disinformation stretching from Westminster to Washington, and far beyond. The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. He starts with the Brexit referendum and the various kinds of unsavoury practices that took place during that doomed plebiscite – from the various illegalities of Vote Leave, through Arron Banks’s lavish expenditure to the astonishing tale of the dark money funnelled through the Ulster DUP and a loophole in Northern Ireland’s electoral law.

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