Goodbye authoritarian nightmare

Now that the Texas suit has fallen flat, we can get back to dealing with all the other nightmares. But at least the literal death of democracy — a legitimate election overturned just because a sexist, racist, xenophobic, corrupt, incompetent, narcissistic liar says so — isn’t on the table

The Supreme Court refuses to overturn the election results in PA

Good news here from the Court. I’m expecting Trump’s 3 appointees—together with Justices Alito and Thomas—to make some truly outrageous decisions, but at least overturning the duly certified results in PA won’t be one of them. That would be worse than outrageous; it would be a coup. Trump was naive (or frighteningly authoritarian) to think the justices would support such frivolous claims. Not even one of the six Republican appointees had his back. The judiciary has proved itself a worthy guardian of the vote this time around.

As the NYTimes reported, “Mr. Trump and his Republican allies have lost about 50 challenges to the presidential election in the past five weeks, as judges in at least eight states have repeatedly rejected a litany of unproven claims — that mail-in ballots were improperly sent out, that absentee ballots were counted wrongly, that poll observers were not given proper access to the vote count and that foreign powers hacked into and manipulated voting machines. Mr. Trump has not come close — even once — to overturning the results of a single state’s election, let alone the results in at least three states that he would need to take a victory from Mr. Biden. And around the country, judges have started to express their frustration with his attempts to have the courts substitute their will for those of voters.”

Judges have proven themselves unwilling participants in Trump’s attempted coup, unlike Republican officeholders and Trump’s base. So I suppose Trump’s and the GDP’s strategy will now focus on how to eliminate the last vestiges of judicial independence. But for now at least, we can be grateful that judges still care about evidence.

Why Trump Could Win Again

Ben Page and I just published a piece in the magazine Public Seminar, examining Trump’s only legitimate path to victory as we see it. Not vote suppression, Russian interference, martial law, or fake news, but genuine support from working-class people who have been abandoned by the political establishment, including the Democratic Party.

Preface to Tyranny of Greed

The *preface to my new book* has just been posted online. While writing Tyranny of Greed, I sometimes wondered whether the political crisis would turn out to be less serious than I was making it out to be. But now, as the book is about to be released, I’m not having those kinds of thoughts. If I could find more dramatic material than political revolutionaries and Biblical demons to portray the gravity of our moment in history, I’d use it.

Sample chapter from Tim and Gene’s edited volume on campaign finance reform

Democracy by the People (Cambridge University Press 2018, co-edited with Eugene Mazo) is now out in paperback and hardcover. Attached is Tim’s chapter, entitled The Third Coming of American Plutocracy. It discusses how government of, by and for the wealthy has ruled America twice before in our history. Today’s plutocrats and systemic corruption are just the latest incarnation of an old tyranny.

Kuhner, final version, The_Third_Coming_of_American_Plutocracy_What_Campaign_Finance_Reformers_Are_Up_Against

Democracy by the People, coming soon from Cambridge University Press

Eugene Mazo and I have put together a new book on reforming campaign finance in the United States, soon available from Cambridge University Press and

Here are some advance comments:

“At a time when pay-to-play plutocrats and foreign presidential payoffs are choking off government by the people, the contributors to this timely collection are reviving the project of American democracy with a series of practical and viable reform proposals. In a dark time, we owe them thanks for bringing the light.” Jamie Raskin, Vice-Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and American University, Washington

“Many of us are discouraged about a campaign finance system that has led to widespread distrust of our political process. Reform seems impossible because of entrenched interests and an unsympathetic Supreme Court. But this timely book shows that significant pragmatic change is achievable. Democracy by the People is required reading for citizens, activists and scholars alike – it is a tour de force.” Ann Ravel, Former Chair and Commissioner, Federal Election Commission, and Former Chair, California Fair Political Practices Commission

More information coming soon…