Is America an Oligarchy?

White House

ol·i·gar·chy
ˈäləˌɡärkē/
noun
a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.
“the ruling oligarchy of military men around the president”
a country governed by an oligarchy.
“the English aristocratic oligarchy of the 19th century”
government by oligarchy.

In September 2014, Princeton University and Northwestern professors, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, published their results of a study regarding what influence on public policy different classes of citizens in the US actually have.  This article, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens”,  provides insight into what actually is going on in American politics and why both parties are actually controlled by the elite class.
 “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

The article illustrates how the percentage of ordinary citizens (or mass special interest groups as opposed to elite special interest groups) who support a policy has absolutely no effect in whether or not that policy is adopted in Washington.  However, the elite and powerful’s influence is directly porportional to whether or not the policy is adopted.  If the majority of the public is for a policy or against the policy, it has approximately 30% chance of getting passed.  this is true regardless of whether public support for the policy is 10% or 90%.  One would assume that if 90% of your constituants were for policy, it would have a 90% chance of being adopted- but you would be wrong.

However, if you are a special interest or member of the elite ruling class (top 1%), then your policy has a much better chance of being adopted, irregardless of how popular that policy is with the general voter.

The article examines four theories: Economic-Elite Domination, Biased Pluralism, Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, and Majoritarian Pluralism.However, the article focuses on the Economic-Elite Pluralism and Majoritarian Electoral Democracy as those two theories had the most evidence.

They concluded that:  “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover … even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

After this study was published, many reports emerged that America was actually an Oligarchy, not a Reblublic or Democratic Society.  However, I do not think it got the attention it would have if it had come out a few months ago.  With the 2016 Election being taken over by the elite of both parties, it is becoming very obvious that the “will of the people” only is considered correct if the elite class agrees with the “people”.  Both parties are disappointed with the people’s choice for President.  The Democrats are bringing in the Super delegates and the Republicans are spending MILLIONS of dollars in florida and Ohio on attack ads on their FRONTRUNNER just because he does not agree with their way of thinking.  It does not matter that in some states voter tunout was up over 100%, does not matter he is bringing in Democrats and Independents to the party which was so desperately needed, does not matter he is overwhelmingly the choice of the majority of the voters thus far in the electoral primary process.

Primaries today in Michigan and Mississippi will let us know if the TrumpTrain is slowing down and how many in Michigan are “Feelin the Bern”.  It will be interesting to see the results and how each party reacts to the results.  I wish the networks were not allowed to put the Superdelegate count in with the delegates gained so far.  I feel this is manipulation of data at it’s finest and deceiving to voters who feel their vote won’t make a difference. The reality is the count is so much closer than the media wants the public to believe.

 

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Author: midlifemusingssite

Independent Skincare Consultant with Rodan+Fields. Mother of two boys (26 and 21) and a 9 year old Yorkie named Buddy.

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