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.

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