Kimberly Strassel has written a timely, bold, and important book explaining why a great many people are supporting Donald Trump for President. You wouldn’t know it from the book’s title, however, because the title — The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech — reflects Ms. Strassel’s mission, which is to reveal the full extent of the threat to free speech and small d democracy brought on by the coordinated efforts of the political left since 2010 to silence conservative opposition.
In Citizens Divided: Campaign Finance Reform and the Constitution, Robert C. Post, the dean of Yale Law School, makes it his task to “elaborate a constitutional framework in which First Amendment doctrine and campaign finance reform can be connected to each other in a coherent and theoretically satisfactory manner.”
Despite its title, Citizens Divided is not so much about the controversial 2010 Supreme Court case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission as it is a discourse on the debate about the constitutionality of campaign-finance regulation—a debate that has raged since the Court’s seminal decision in Buckley v. Valeo (1976).
In 2004 leftwing filmmaker Michael Moore released his film Fahrenheit 9/11, a searing attack on the legitimacy of George Bush’s election to the presidency in 2000, and his handling of events before, during, and after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2011 on the World Trade Center. Moore was unequivocal in his stated hope that the movie would “help unseat a president.”
Fahrenheit 9/11 was produced by Moore’s production company Dog Eat Dog Films, a corporation. At the time – before the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission—it was illegal for corporations to spend money “in connection with any election to any political office,” and illegal for an officer of a corporation to consent to such an expenditure.
Imagine if fourteen months after the election, Moore had been indicted by a Bush-appointed federal prosecutor for violating the prohibition on corporate spending. Imagine if Moore was arrested, cuffed, criminally charged for his activities, had his passport confiscated, and bail set at $500,000–what would have been the reaction from the America’s liberals? Of the press? Of Senator Barack Obama?
John McGinnis certainly doesn’t underestimate the importance of his task in Accelerating Democracy: Transforming Governance Through Technology. By page 4, he makes clear that “mass disorientation” caused by rapid technological change “can become the source of both national aggression and non-state terrorism… the dynamic of modern technology could as easily lead to a nightfall of civilization as to the dawn of a far better world.” With that bold statement of the stakes, McGinnis, the George C. Dix Professor of Constitutional Law at Northwestern University, takes on the very Madisonian task of considering the design of a government for the twenty-first century…
Ninety-five years ago Truman Newberry, a modest, well-mannered scion of an old-money Detroit family, suddenly found himself under federal indictment and his very name synonymous with political corruption. Newberry’s “crime”? He had run for the United States Senate as a long-shot underdog against the President’s handpicked candidate and nation’s most famous man, Henry Ford. And thanks to a skillful ad campaign financed by nearly $200,000 contributed by Newberry’s family members and friends (the equivalent of about $3 million in 2013), he had won. Before Super PACs, McCain-Feingold, “soft money,” and the Keating 5; before Watergate, and even before Teapot Dome, there…