Princeton University has come to the conclusion that we don't really live in a democracy but that we are basically an oligarchy. No real surprise there - the rich are getting richer, the poor getting poorer and the people in-between worry about that their children won't even live at the same standard as they do. Just to be clear:
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
Their main conclusion?
As Gilens and Page write, "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy." In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
We see this in public education reform and discussion every single day. There is endless blathering by any number of Gates Foundation, Broad Foundation or Walton Foundation astro-turf groups created by these foundations about "representing" the public. They don't.
On another note, I was reading a story at Publicola about Rodney Tom announcing that he is not going to run again for state senate. Ross Hunter, another roadkill Dem, had considered running for the senate seat vacated by Tom. But he said this:
"He had feared negative ads from independent expenditure groups (done on his behalf) that would have prevented him from running a "clean" campaign.
Outside forces control ever-larger slices of campaign expenditures. I could run a clean campaign, but I cannot imagine that the external forces would agree to do so as well, and they would have probably outspent my campaign by over a million dollars. I was concerned about “wearing” this negative advertising against someone I consider a friend. It’s too bad we are are in a world where campaigns are no longer controlled by the candidate. This specific concern is obviously gone today, but it still a problem in the campaign world in general that I do not know how to solve.Very troubling. A candidate wants to run a "clean" campaign but because there are groups who can operate in favor of the candidate but independently of the candidate, candidates don't just worry about opponents but about supporters.
That is a very sorry state of affairs but it's probably true. I think that if Suzanne Dale Estey had truly run her own campaign, she might not have lost the race to Peters. In person, she comes off as a lot more of a straight shooter than she did in her campaign. But while a candidate cannot control what others say and do in their name, they can to do the basic move of distancing themselves from people who try to speak for them and/or disavowing such tactics.
What's on your mind?