Not a Democracy by a Long Shot

This Media Matters article contained a rundown of some of the democratic notions have no chance in our oligarchy:

Look at these one-sided findings from just a single Quinnipiac poll published this month, regarding the supposedly divisive issues of guns, war, and global warming [emphasis added]:

* “American voters support 92 – 7 percent, including 92 – 6 percent among gun owners, requiring background checks for all gun buyers.”

* “The 2003 war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do, American voters say 61 – 32 percent.”

* “Voters support 58 – 30 percent federal government actions to limit greenhouse gases from existing power plants to reduce global warming.”

 The examples of Americans being united in heated agreement during Obama’s second term have been numerous:

83 percent want to “either lower student loan interest rates, or keep them at current levels.”

81 percent think obesity is a big problem in society.

79 percent call for immigration reforms.

75 percent agreed with Obama’s 2011 decision to withdrawal U.S. troops from Iraq.

71 percent support raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25.

69 percent agree that global warming represents a “serious problem facing this country.”

69 percent favor extending long-term unemployment insurance.

Yet Republicans, who lost the White House in 2012 and lost seats in both houses of Congress, have blockedall attempts by the White House to address those issues.

And note there are additional topics where a clear, catapulting movement towards a strong consensus is underway:

55 percent support gay marriage (up 15 points in five years).

55 percent favor legalizing marijuana (up 20 points in six years).

So no, America isn’t made up of a cauldron of partisans who engage is endless trench warfare. On issue after issue there’s plenty of broad agreement. Republicans ignore that for political purposes. What’s the media’s excuse?

* * * *

And this piece on Vox contains some eye-opening charts describing who really runs the show in this country:







The following chart was introduced with this text:

Congress responds more to the preferences of the wealthy than to those of average people

Who really matters in our democracy — the general public, or wealthy elites? These charts, from a study by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern, seek to answer that question. The first one — the flat line — shows that as more and more average citizens support action on an issue, they’re not any more likely to get what they want. That’s a shocking finding in a democracy. In contrast, the next chart shows that as more economic elites want a certain policy change, they do become more likely to get what they want. Specifically, if fewer than 20 percent of wealthy Americans supported a policy change, it only happened about 18 percent of the time. But when 80 percent of them were in support, the change ended up happening 45 percent of the time. There’s no similar effect for average Americans.



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