Top Leaderboard, Site wide
November 25, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!


A Soldier Among Chickenhawks




Joan of Arc


Truthdig Bazaar
The Oxford Shakespeare

The Oxford Shakespeare

By William Shakespeare

more items

 
Ear to the Ground

Study: American Democracy ‘Seriously Threatened’

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Aug 27, 2014

Shutterstock

A pair of researchers have a handy tip for those Americans still attached to the notion that we live in a representative democracy: Get ready to kiss that notion goodbye.

Also read: The Last Gasp of American Democracy

Princeton University’s Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page of Northwestern University have released a study, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” and let’s just say the latter most group in that title comes in last place in the pecking order in contemporary American politics, too. Basically, the study’s authors conclude, we live in an oligarchy (via Talking Points Memo):

Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

 

This latest scholarly buzzkill isn’t likely to come as a shock to many in these doublespeak days of “Citizens United” and “corporate personhood,” but the trend reaches further back than the millennial generation’s earliest memories. Here’s what Gilens and Page have to say at the conclusion of their article:

Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

Read their study in full here.

—Posted by Kasia Anderson 

 


More Below the Ad

Advertisement

Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

 
Monsters of Our Own Creation? Get tickets for this Truthdig discussion of America's role in the Middle East.
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook