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Beyond Citizens United

Beyond Citizens United

Few are satisfied with the present state of American politics: a polarized U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures, a presidential race in which vast sums from unidentified sources are being spent, candidates distinguished by inexperience and extreme views, and a politicized judiciary. Some blame this state of affairs on the Citizens United decision and on Republican gerrymandering of legislatures, but the situation is largely the work of reformers.

Until 1973, the campaign finance regime was well understood. Both parties' national candidates drew support from well-known donors: Republicans from Pews and Mellons, Democrats from Marshall Field and Hollywood moguls, and...