Tune In: ‘How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy’


Have you heard of the Free Speech and Election Law Podcast? No? Then we want to bring it to your attention.

Actually, to one specific episode: One that centered on a recent paper titled, “How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy” (did we mention the paper is also available as a free e-book here?).

In it, author Jonathan Rauch asks: How can political home truths (ie: truths our grandparents took for granted) help modern politicians negotiate, compromise, and govern?

Among other things, Rauch’s paper indicates:

  • Government can’t govern unless political machines (or something like them) both exist and work because machines are uniquely willing and able to negotiate compromises and make them stick.
  • Progressive reformers have joined forces to wage the long-fought war against political machines by weakening political insiders’ control of money, nominations, negotiations and other essential tools of political leadership.
  • Reforms’ fixations on corruption and participation – although perhaps appropriate a long time ago – have become destabilizing and counterproductive, contributing to the rise of “privatized pseudo-machines that make governing more difficult and politics less accountable.”

The Federalist Society, which hosts the podcast, said this on the website about the work, and the interview with Rauch:

Mr. Rauch also explores possible realist solutions, such changes to campaign finance laws, congressional earmarks, primary elections, and transparency rules.  Stephen Klein joined this program to offer his comments, and Mr. Rauch answered questions from Federalist Society members.

So without further ado, to check out the podcast, click here.

And to let us know how you think his theory’s effect fair and free elections, just comment below.

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