By M. David and Reagan Ali
A groundbreaking study from Princeton University is causing a lot of controversy, but its findings are undeniable.
The university study explains that U.S. democracy is pure fiction. That is, the researchers say it simply does not exist.
The scholars behind the study asked the question: “[w]ho really rules?”
Researchers Martin Gilens along with Benjamin I. Page concluded that over the past few decades in particular, the U.S. political system has gradually changed in a way that has warped the Democratic Republic into a nearly pure oligarchy, where the elite 1% rule with almost total influence and control over the government and even police state apparatus.
The researchers drew data from over 1,800 different policy initiatives dating from 1981 to 2002. They concluded that wealthy, well-connected families are the ones who steer the direction of nearly everything politically in the United States.
“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,” they explain, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
Gilens and Page compare and contrast the political preferences of those at the 50th income percentile to preferences of those at the 90th percentile in addition to major lobbying or business groups.
The pair found that regardless of whether one is Republican or Democratic was of no significant difference. The results showed that more often than not, policy followed the interests of corporations and the 1%.
The research notes recent Supreme Court decisions that allow more money in politics – pointing to this as a likely factor in this transformation into an oligarchy – stretching back to the 1980s.
“Ordinary citizens,” they explain, “might often be observed to ‘win’ (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail.”