"Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens"

There's an old (2014) study about the alignment of actual policy with the desires of interest groups in the United States, and I meant to write something smart about it for years. Sadly, I found no particularly smart comment in face of so much obviousness.

Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, 2014

Essentially, voting doesn't matter there. Money, affinity fraud, socio-ethnic group identity (old white rich men) and networks appear to be in power constantly.

It's sad that the attempts to break this system pushed hardly competent and benevolent champions for change to the better into high office. To elect a self-proclaimed billionnaire known for selfishness strikes me as the most stupid possible attempt at ending this gilded age.



  1. I find myself disagreeing with your last comment. Showing the average American citizen the ultimate expression of where the US is going is the only thing that stands a chance of changing the course of US politics. The results so far are not good but we will not have a definitive answer until we see who wins the party nominations for the Presidency in 2020.

    My greatest fear is that we have a choice between Hilary clones that are fantastic bureaucrats that sooth the voter back to sleep while continuing down the road to Plutocracy.

    A slightly smaller fear is that we are treated to a wild west rodeo of candidates who tell themselves that they can be more effective than Trump (which is possible) but who believe that they would have the powers of a King or Emperor while in office.

    As Trump is discovering, running a very large democracy is an exercise in balance, not power.

  2. When you think about it...the U.S. was created as a playground for rich, white, (typically slave-owning) men. While voting eligibility has changed since then the structures of government have not, by and large. So it is entirely unsurprising that the people for whom the nation was created are still the biggest monkeys in the zoo.

    And, unfortunately, Pluto's hopes have already been tried and failed. The U.S. at the end of the original Gilded Age was a plutocratic nightmare for everyone not a plutocrat. "Anarchism" and "radicals" were active in the working world, outfits like the IWW and the socialist and communist parties were trying to "show the average American the ultimate expression" of where the US was...and nothing fundamentally changed until capitalism utterly shit the bed in 1929. Even then change was only moderate. Populism, as a political force in U.S. politics, was typically captured by nativist and semifascist demagogues.

    The real problem is, as your study points out, that We the People aren't "down the road" to plutocracy; we're there. And, unfortunately, the likely response to a widespread realization of and anger with that fact is to boost a Man on Horseback into power. And we all know how likely this is to end well...

  3. It's (((old white rich men))) alright.