Considering the expanding role of interest groups in American presidential elections
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In early 2010, the US Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC opened the door to dramatic changes in American elections. The Court removed long-standing barriers on corporations, unions and ideological groups in the funding of direct messages to voters. The impact of Citizens United has been oft noted (and lamented) in the last half-decade, and this essay will focus on important changes in political advertising since 2010.
Interest groups do many things in elections, from recruiting and training individuals to run for office to helping candidates and parties with campaign funds and messaging (Rozell et al, 2011). And while interest groups have always participated in American elections (Mutch, 2014), the change in the character and content of their presence pre- and post-2010 is readily apparent. Many have lamented this, whether about levels of corruption in government (Teachout, 2014), the tendency toward plutocracy (Hasen, 2016), or the damage to free and lively citizen dialogue...
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