On today’s episode of The CAP⋅impact Podcast, (Apple Podcasts, Spotify) I talked with Stetson University College of Law Professor, and campaign finance expert, Ciara Torres-Spelliscy about the rebranding of events and terms like truth and corruption that she explores in her newest book Political Brands.

The book not only explores how presidential candidates have branded and marketed themselves from Eisenhower to Trump, but also looks at how political actors and the Supreme Court have re-branded, or redefined, terms that are at the heart of democratic institutions. SCOTUS has redefined corruption (both the elected official and white-collar versions of it) starting with Skilling and continuing on though Bridgegate. The President has led an assault on truth by labeling news coverage he doesn’t like as “fake news” – as opposed to labeling something that presents itself as news but is, in fact, completely false “fake news.”

There are encouraging changes as well. The work that the survivors of the Parkland shooting have done, including producing t-shirts with QR Codes embedded in a picture of the US flag to encourage young people to register to vote are more positive versions of political branding, in Prof. Torres-Spelliscy’s opinion.

You can also find the article on vote-by-mail that Professor Torres-Spelliscy referenced in Talking Points Memo’s TPM Cafe. You can also keep up with her work with the Brennan Center for Justice, where she blogs regularly, on her Stetson University College of Law faculty page, and on Twitter @ProfCiara. And you can find Political Brands as an ebook on the Google Play Store.

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