EXCERPT: One of the distinctive features of American democracy is the permeability of our political institutions. It's an incredibly wide-open system, given First Amendment freedoms, the flood of money that corrupts the electoral process, and a wide array of media organizations and political journals that can be used to disseminate and amplify various views, even when they have no basis in fact.

This situation allows small groups of people to have a profound impact on public attitudes and policy discourse, provided that they are well-organized, well-funded, and stay on message.

— Stephen M. Walt

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