Bull Moose Dictionary: Astroturf Politics

Astroturf Politics: an expression that refers to the deployment of monetary and/or media assets by an individual or small group in order to create the illusion of a grassroots sentiment or movement, or to create the illusion that a lunatic fringe actually represents mainstream sentiment.

Astroturf politics have been used by both liberals and conservatives. Traditional Democratic machine politics a la Tammany Hall were the earliest and crudest manifestation of the phenomenon. Most recently, Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod and Democratic-leaning billionaire George Soros have been accused of employing the tactic with liberal-left organizations like MoveOn.org and J-Street, and industrialists Charles and David Koch have been accused of doing the same in the effort to spawn and support libertarian and reactionary causes, including the Tea Party movement.

Author: David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.

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