I didn't read this in detail. Only skimmed it. This observation, connected with an anecdote about the skill of his campaign managers, is quite interesting.
Clearly, at least to some degree, the "consent of the governed" was becoming a commodity to be purchased by the highest bidder. To the extent that money and the clever use of electronic mass media could be used to manipulate the outcome of elections, the role of reason began to diminish.
Its comforting when such control exists in the hands of men like Gore that they are willing to admit it and furthermore see it as a bad thing. I wish, however, that I shared his optimism about the present:
Now, broadband interconnection is supporting decentralized processes that reinvigorate democracy. We can see it happening before our eyes: As a society, we are getting smarter. Networked democracy is taking hold. You can feel it.
I don't feel it. Our politics has become deeply partisan. Few people are willing to maintain a healthy disengagement from identification with one of the ruling parties. They use the network to seek out information that confirms their prejudices, true or not. There are minor ways in which this helps. I can access legislation being considered, and I can speak out. But there are major ways in which it doesn't help. People do not know how to think critically. They don't really seek truth. They seek social validation. The truth is rarely the most comfortable option. It has a tendency to challenge you.
Book Excerpt: The Assault on Reason by Al Gore