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The Cash Ceiling$
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Nicholas Carnes

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182001

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182001.001.0001

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Moving the Needle

Moving the Needle

(p.209) 6 Moving the Needle
The Cash Ceiling

Nicholas Carnes

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the growing body of research on the oversized political influence of the upper class in American politics and the somewhat checkered recent history of conventional political equality reforms like campaign finance laws, lobbying regulations, and programs to increase voter turnout. Whereas these kinds of programs have encountered numerous practical and political roadblocks, pilot efforts to recruit and support working-class candidates have been remarkably successful. Activists who want to give the less fortunate more of a say in American politics have always had a curious blind spot when it comes to helping the less fortunate hold office. It may be time for that to change. If reformers want to continue moving the needle on the problem of political inequality, one of their best bets may be to start paying attention to America's cash ceiling.

Keywords:   cash ceiling, elections, political influence, American politics, upper class, political equality reform, working-class candidates

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