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State Capture: How Conservative Activists, Big Businesses, and Wealthy Donors Reshaped the American States -- And the Nation

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Most Americans pay little attention to the massive number of elections that occur at the state level every year. Yet cumulatively, a party's success in state-level races across the country can produce major shifts in policymaking and governance. That is precisely what has happened in the US since 2010. In a wave election that year, the Republican Party began their ascendanc Most Americans pay little attention to the massive number of elections that occur at the state level every year. Yet cumulatively, a party's success in state-level races across the country can produce major shifts in policymaking and governance. That is precisely what has happened in the US since 2010. In a wave election that year, the Republican Party began their ascendancy in state-level elections, and by 2016 had solidified their dominance. The party now fully controls 25 state legislatures and governorships-one of the largest advantages either party has had since the New Deal. After the GOP wave, a broad swathe of states began considering and enacting a near-identical set of conservative priorities-often even using the exact same text. Where did this flood of new legislation come from? How did so many states arrive at the same proposals at precisely the same time? As Alexander Hertel-Fernandez shows in the eye-opening State Capture, the answer can be found in a trio of powerful interest groups: the Koch Brothers-run Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the State Policy Network (SPN). Drawing from an impressive evidence base, Hertel-Fernandez explains how, since the 1970s, conservative activists, wealthy donors, and big businesses constructed a right-wing troika of overlapping and influential lobbying groups. But it is about more than this. It also teases out how conservative-corporate mobilization has fostered epochal shifts in the American political economy: the decline of unions, party polarization, and the skyrocketing concentration of wealth. State Capture will be essential reading for anyone interested in understanding contemporary American politics.


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Most Americans pay little attention to the massive number of elections that occur at the state level every year. Yet cumulatively, a party's success in state-level races across the country can produce major shifts in policymaking and governance. That is precisely what has happened in the US since 2010. In a wave election that year, the Republican Party began their ascendanc Most Americans pay little attention to the massive number of elections that occur at the state level every year. Yet cumulatively, a party's success in state-level races across the country can produce major shifts in policymaking and governance. That is precisely what has happened in the US since 2010. In a wave election that year, the Republican Party began their ascendancy in state-level elections, and by 2016 had solidified their dominance. The party now fully controls 25 state legislatures and governorships-one of the largest advantages either party has had since the New Deal. After the GOP wave, a broad swathe of states began considering and enacting a near-identical set of conservative priorities-often even using the exact same text. Where did this flood of new legislation come from? How did so many states arrive at the same proposals at precisely the same time? As Alexander Hertel-Fernandez shows in the eye-opening State Capture, the answer can be found in a trio of powerful interest groups: the Koch Brothers-run Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the State Policy Network (SPN). Drawing from an impressive evidence base, Hertel-Fernandez explains how, since the 1970s, conservative activists, wealthy donors, and big businesses constructed a right-wing troika of overlapping and influential lobbying groups. But it is about more than this. It also teases out how conservative-corporate mobilization has fostered epochal shifts in the American political economy: the decline of unions, party polarization, and the skyrocketing concentration of wealth. State Capture will be essential reading for anyone interested in understanding contemporary American politics.

35 review for State Capture: How Conservative Activists, Big Businesses, and Wealthy Donors Reshaped the American States -- And the Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Good subject matter, diving into ALEC. But it read too much like an academic paper, meaning that I felt it was too cautious in its conclusions.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jason Bailey

  3. 4 out of 5

    Claire Snyder-Hall

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

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    Richard Craig

  6. 4 out of 5

    LP

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    Emily

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessncanfield

  9. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

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    Marlon Ramirez

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

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    Andy Torres

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    Quentin

  14. 4 out of 5

    1ups

  15. 5 out of 5

    Evan

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    Nlusiani

  17. 5 out of 5

    April

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    Andrew

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    Jamison

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    Carter A.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fmpisano

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tony

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  25. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Gaitskell

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    Mike M

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    Len Pollard

  28. 5 out of 5

    Izzy Kates

  29. 5 out of 5

    A

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dakota

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  32. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy Liu

  33. 5 out of 5

    Dominik

  34. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

  35. 5 out of 5

    Max Nova

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