There is a shift here to more careful claims about what money buys and when: that it counts for more in some races than in others; that it is not all that effective if the candidate is a “bad product”; that money’s effects are more of a “skew” than a power play; and that those effects are not always all that obvious unless you look closely. But there is little change in the statement of campaign money’s impact: it is large, pernicious and pervasive, and it accounts for “the rise of a plutocratic class capturing private benefits for personal gain.”
Now this position may sound like the long-standing corruption argument now having to straddle the line between its empirical and moral foundations—having to concede after all this time the complexity of money’s effects while insisting that the corruption remains as bad as ever. But Rick is not an anti-corruption theorist of the old school. He is arguing for campaign finance regulation as an antidote to extreme political inequality, a position forcefully and skillfully laid out in his new book, Plutocrats United.