Rethinking Democracy: Princeton Study Confirms Suspicions About Our Government

Rethinking Democracy: Princeton Study Confirms Suspicions About Our Government


What this Princeton study reveals is not really a surprise, but there is a difference between having a hunch about something and spending time doing actual research. Two professors ran the data for nearly 1,800 recent U.S. policy changes and came to this conclusion: Our government by the people, for the people is a sham.

Some of you are reading this and are already going “duuuh.” For the rest of you, consider this. How much influence do “ordinary citizens” have on policy-making? Well, according to this Northwestern and Princeton study, it’s somewhere around “a non-significant, near-zero level.” Who really has the most influence over government policy? I bet you already know the answer.


America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened,” writes the authors of this study, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “ if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans.”


Senator Rand Paul touched upon a similar note when he said at the New Hampshire Freedom Summit that Republicans cannot be the party of plutocrats and rich people. He’s making his efforts to broaden the message of the GOP, but will the rest of the party follow his act? How do we make the words, “We the People,” really mean something again?

This Princeton study from Gilens and Page isn’t far off from what most of us already believe. Our Government needs change. Charles M. Blow of The New York Times complained about voter apathy in the young and less-wealthy last week. Well, one vote doesn’t cut it. We have to do more than just vote. Since most of us aren’t spontaneously becoming billionaires overnight, the real path to being heard is getting organized and backing those who really make a difference.


Is Rand Paul your guy? Make some noise in the comments below or on Facebook. We can always use a good argument on Twitter so send us a tweet.

(Photo courtesy of Brad Cooks, via Flickr CC BY 2.0)



WATCH: Martin Gilens on The Rachel Maddow Show
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