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The One Percent: Power, Politics, And America's Changing Democracy

Flag of the United States of America, backlit, windy day.

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.

The divide between America's top earners and the rest of the population is wide and getting wider. 

Many experts point to the way in which the so-called "one percent" have used their economic power to tighten their grip on privilege as one reason for the widening gap.

Two of the key players are David and Charles Koch, who in 1980 started to spend millions to elect conservative libertarians to all levels of American government. 

Jane Mayer chronicles this rise of money in politics in her new book "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right" (Doubleday/2016). 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Mayer, a staff writer with The New Yorker, about "Dark Money" and the rise of money in politics over the last four decades.

He continues the conversation with Jeffrey Winters, professor of political science at Northwestern University and author of the book "Oligarchy" (Cambridge University Press/2011). Winters argues the United States is both a democracy and oligarchy, thanks to the power of money in government.

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Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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