A study was recently conducted by two professors of Princeton University and Northwestern University, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, respectively, in which a single question was asked: “Does the government represent the people?” The study, which “took data from nearly 2000 public opinion surveys and compared it to the policies that ended up becoming law,” according to represent.us – an activist website – found that the “opinions of 90% of Americans has essentially no impact at all.” The results of this 20-year-long study is extraordinarily disconcerting, since the will of the people is meant to carry an exceedingly powerful influence in a democratic society such as our own; yet, the reality is the exact opposite, thanks to big money and special interests.
According to represent.us, “Gilens & Page found that the number of Americans for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that Congress will make it law.” In their study, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens”, they state that, “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
It’s no surprise to anyone who gives politics any attention that money is the root of political folly, but the level to which this holds true is astounding and really quite frightening. The implications of a system which holds its electorate in figurative chains are just as bad as those of a society which hold its people in literal ones. When the voice of the people is silenced, so too is their liberty relinquished.
The full results of the study can be found at represent.us