Democracy by the People

JPGDemocracy by the People_CoverAmerican democracy has been replaced by a regime of government by and for the wealthy. Together with seventeen experts on election law, Eugene Mazo and Tim Kuhner respond to the undue influence of economic power over American politics.

What reforms are available for citizens and legislators to pursue now, even taking into account the Supreme Court’s hostility to campaign finance reform?

“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

“Democracy by the People is insightful, innovative, and timely. With the Supreme Court unlikely to reverse course on campaign finance law anytime soon, this edited volume offers thought-provoking proposals that could significantly curtail the role of money in politics even without constitutional change. The analyses are lucid, novel, and present creative ideas for reforming campaign finance in America.” – Adam Winkler – University of California, Los Angeles and author of We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights

To order:

Cambridge University Press

Book Flyer


Thanks to a series of recent US Supreme Court decisions, corporations can now spend unlimited sums to influence elections, Super PACs and dark money groups are flourishing, and wealthy individuals and special interests increasingly dominate American politics. Despite the overwhelming support of Americans to fix this broken system, serious efforts at reform have languished. Campaign finance is a highly intricate and complex area of the law, and the current system favors the incumbent politicians who oversee it. This illuminating book takes these hard realities as a starting point and offers realistic solutions to reform campaign finance. With contributions from many leading scholars of election law, it should be read by anyone interested in reclaiming the promise of American democracy.


Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School.

Yasmin Dawood, Canada Research Chair in Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Electoral Law and Associate Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Toronto.

K.D. Ewing, Professor of Public Law at King’s College, London.

Ronald A. Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech For People.

Brent Ferguson, Assistant District Attorney at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, previously Counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

Deborah Hellman, D. Lurton Massee Professor of Law and the Roy L. and Rosamond Woodruff Morgan Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Michael D. Gilbert, Sullivan & Cromwell Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Kent Greenfield, Professor of Law and Michael and Helen Lee Distinguished Scholar at Boston College Law School.

Timothy K. Kuhner, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Chisun Lee, Senior Counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

Adam Lioz, Counsel and Senior Advisor for Policy and Outreach at Demos, based in Washington, D.C.

Eugene D. Mazo, Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School, at the University of Baltimore School of Law, and at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Maggie McKinley, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Óscar Sánchez Muñoz, Associate Professor of Constitutional Law and Vice Dean for International Relations at the Faculty of Law at the University of Valladolid in Spain.

Katherine Shaw, Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

Ganesh Sitaraman, Professor of Law and Director of the Program on Law and Government at Vanderbilt University Law School.

Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Professor of Law and Marjorie Fried Research Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School.

Daniel P. Tokaji, Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Professor of Constitutional Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Nick Warshaw, 2016 graduate of the UCLA School of Law, fellow of the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.