8th Edition

Who Rules America? The Corporate Rich, White Nationalist Republicans, and Inclusionary Democrats in the 2020s

By G William Domhoff Copyright 2022
    268 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    268 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    The 8th edition, already significantly updated, has now been further updated in 2023 to include the likely impact of the post-pandemic cutbacks, the overturning of Roe v Wade, and the Trump indictments on the 2024 national elections. These factors could lead to more economic growth and social support for families, schools, and health care--or an increase in inequality, white male supremacy, and social strife, depending on the size of the voter turnout by younger voters. At this crucial moment in American history, when voting rights could be expanded to include all citizens, or legislatively limited, this significantly updated edition of Who Rules America? shows precisely how the top 1% of the population, who own 43% of all financial wealth, and receive 20% of the nation’s yearly income, dominate governmental decision-making. They have created a corporate community and a policy-planning network, made up of foundations think-tanks, and policy-discussion groups, to develop the policies that become law. Through a leadership group called the power elite, the corporate rich provide campaign donations and other gifts and favors to elected officials, serve on federal advisory committees, and receive appointments to key positions in government, all of which make it possible for the corporate rich and the power elite to rule the country, despite constant challenges from the inclusionary alliance and from the Democratic Party. The book explains the role of both benign and dark attempts to influence public opinion, the machinations of the climate-denial network, and how the Supreme Court came to have an ultraconservative majority, who serve as a backstop for the corporate community as well as a legitimator of restrictions on voting rights, union rights, and abortion rights, by ruling that individual states have the power to set such limits. Despite all this highly concentrated power, it will be the other 99.5%, not the top 0.5%, who will decide the fate of the United States in the 2020s on all the important issues.

    Introduction: Setting the Stage for What Follows; 1. Concepts, Definitions, and Power Indicators; 2. The Corporate Community; 3. The Corporate Community and the Upper Class; 4. The Corporate Rich, The Policy-Planning Network, and the Power Elite; 5. The Role of Public Opinion; 6. Parties and Elections; 7. How the Power Elite Dominate Government; 8. Examining the American Power Structure in a Wider Perspective


    G. William (Bill) Domhoff is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition to previous editions of this book, he is the author or co-author of 20 other books on power and diversity in the United States, including The Higher Circles (1970), The Powers That Be (1979), Jews in the Protestant Establishment (1982, with Richard L. Zweigenhaft), The Power Elite and the State (1990), Blacks in the White Elite (2003, with Richard L. Zweigenhaft), The Leftmost City (2009, with Richard Gendron), Class and Power in the New Deal (2011, with Michael J. Webber), and Diversity in the Power Elite (2018, with Richard L. Zweigenhaft). Most recently, he searched over two dozen archives to write The Corporate Rich and the Power Elite in the Twentieth Century (2020).

    "Domhoff exposes an America that few are taught about in school. A nation where wealthy and corporate interests have effectively controlled economic policies since 1938... Domhoff’s teachings in Who Rules America? are more relevant than ever in 2022."

    Randy Shaw, "Who Rules America? Corporate and Wealthy Interests Still Reign", Beyond Chron (https://beyondchron.org/who-rules-america-the-same-forces-since-new-deal/)