Banana Republicans

Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing Is Turning America into a One-Party StateHow the Right Wing is Turning America Into a One-party State

by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber

U.S. publisher: Tarcher/Penguin

Bookstore price: $11.95 U.S.

ISBN 1-58542-342-4

United Kingdom publisher: Constable & Robinson

Bookstore price: £7.99

ISBN 1-84119-946-X

Ask for it in your local bookstore or order it directly. To order by mail, send $15/book (includes postage & handling) to: CMD, 409 East Main Street, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53703.


"Rampton and Stauber are two of America's bravest, finest journalists. Their work is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how greedy corporations and their allies in government now wield power in the United States."

--Eric Schlosser,

author of Fast Food Nation


Banana Republicans is the latest book by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber of the Center for Media and Democracy. The bestselling authors of Weapons of Mass Deception lay bare how the "right-wing conspiracy," as represented by the national GOP and its functionaries in the media, lobbying establishment and electoral system, is undermining dissent and squelching pluralistic politics in America.

For the first time since 1932, the Republican Party controls every major institution of the federal government: the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate and the House of Representatives - not to mention the "fourth branch of government," the mass media. How did this come to pass? Banana Republicans reveals how the GOP leadership maintains its hold on power through the systemic manipulation of the electoral system, the media, the lobbying establishment, and the political culture at large. The book examines:

  • The legacy of the 2000 Florida ballot scandal, and how it has continued to play out in a nationwide effort at racial gerrymandering and redistricting schemes.
  • How a GOP echo chamber methodically spreads its views through conservative media giants and highly placed columnists, journalists, and opinion makers.
  • How, even within its own environs, the national Republican Party has squelched disagreement and moderation, stripping traditional oversight agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, of mission and influence.
  • How GOP leaders have strong-armed powerful lobbying firms into exclusively hiring Republicans, so that even K Street is political, rather than merely opportunistic.
  • How corporate-funded think tanks and Republican Party pundits have equated disagreement with treason, and the government has used its power to punish dissent.


  • "March of the Banana Republicans" (book excerpt), AlterNet, April 28, 2004.
  • Dave Zweifel, "When Politics Trumps Science," Capital Times (Madison, WI), April 30, 2004: "Rampton and Stauber make no pretense over how they feel about the Bush administration, but they do a convincing job of showing how the radical wing of the Republican Party not only dominates it, but has cleverly built a political 'war machine' capable of destroying its critics. ... The book is a breezy read with elaborate footnotes. It helps explain why, despite all the gaffes and troubles that have beset it, the Bush administration continues to score well in the polls. It also helps to underscore the importance of this fall's presidential election."
  • "The War at Home" (book excerpt), Guerrilla News Network, May 19, 2004.
  • "Pumping Irony" (book excerpt), Counterpunch, May 27, 2004.
  • Interview with Sheldon Rampton, FAIR/Extra!, May 28, 2004. Listen to the show in Real Audio or MP3 format.
  • John Stauber, "Kerry/McCain Anyone?", June 15, 2004.
  • Dustin Bielke, "Local Authors Keep Battling Complacency," Capital Times (Madison, WI), June 17, 2004.
  • "Interview with Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber," Democracy Now! on Pacifica Radio, June 18, 2004. Read the transcript, or listen to the show in Real Audio or MP3 format.
  • Interview with Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, The Hill, June 24, 2004: "The fact that Republicans currently control every branch of the federal government is only part of the reason why the subtitle of our book talks about the right wing 'turning America into a one-party state.' We're also alarmed by the increasingly bellicose tone of right-wing rhetoric. And it's not just empty rhetoric. In our book, we detail cases in which people have been subjected to intimidating FBI visits, fired from their jobs, and even subjected to arrest and physical violence simply for expressing views that the right wing abhors."
  • Jeremy Berg, "Book Review: Banana Republicans," Riverwest Currents, July 1, 2004: "For anyone who has ever wondered how 'liberal' turned into a dirty word, and why the rhetoric of the right is so widely believed, this book is a must-read. ... Though it obviously sides with the left wing, Banana Republicans works in the finest traditions of objective journalism. Rampton and Stauber are interested in facts, pure and simple. Never once do they say 'this is bad' and leave it at that. Everything is backed up by solid reporting."
  • Interview with Sheldon Rampton, Plastic Sugar Press.
  • Book Review, iBrattleboro (Vermont), July 9, 2004: "Ever get the feeling that the government caters to the desires of a small right wing minority and companies they control? Maybe you saw Farenheit 9-11 and want to see how a well-executed plan can get a candidate and an agenda into office. Or perhaps you are the type that watches a magician with a curious eye, always trying to figure out how each trick is done. ... Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber lead the reader through right wing funding, media, talking points, voter suppression, think tanks, politicians, and corporate agendas, explaining how they are all interconnected. They show us the proverbial forest when we have been paying attention to proverbial trees. ... Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing is Turning America into a One-Party State makes a great follow-up to Farenheit 9-11, is an easy read, and might help you sort out who is paying for the opinions you hear and the laws being made."




CHAPTER 1: The Marketplace of Ideas

CHAPTER 2: The Echo Chamber

CHAPTER 3: The One-Party State

CHAPTER 4: Pumping Irony

CHAPTER 5: Block the Vote

CHAPTER 6: Traitor Baiters

CONCLUSION: The Three-Banana Problem