Study: Far From a Democracy, the U.S. Is a Functional Oligarchy

(AP Photos, File)

Americans are led to feel free through the exercise of meaningless choices. There are only two political parties. There is a reduction of the number of media companies. Banking has been reduced to only a handful of banks. Oil companies. These are important, and you’re given very little choice… You know what your freedom of choice in America is? Paper or plastic. — George Carlin


“Democracy™ is on the ballot,” went the incessant, mindless talking point, over and over, pushed by glassy-eyed Democrat Party surrogates this election cycle. And they’re going to recycle that talking point for as long as possible, because that’s all they’ve got.

The benefit of promoting Democracy™ as the central selling point to elect Democrats is that the term is amorphous. The vast majority of targeted voters who hear about the importance of Democracy™ won’t ever really think critically about what it entails or, more importantly, whether it actually exists.

Sad to say, it doesn’t. Democracy™ in America in 2022 is a childish fantasy. A pipe dream. A mirage.

Related: Election Hangover: My Democracy Doesn’t Feel Saved at All

That the United States is a thriving democracy, through persistent propaganda in public schools and corporate media, has become an unquestionable article of faith. But back in 2014, before Orange Hitler rained on the Democracy™ parade, when the neoliberal star-child Obama reigned supreme at the pinnacle of Democracy™, two political science researchers quietly destroyed the narrative.

Instead of mindlessly adhering to the Democracy™ mythology, the researchers quantitatively analyzed how the gears of government actually turn. They isolated thousands of policy decisions and stacked them up against public opinion divided by economic status and interest groups.


Here’s what they found, as published in “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” (emphasis added):

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism… When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it… average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence [over US policy]. [Emphasis added]

What that means, in a nutshell, is that, unless you are a privileged member of the D.C.-centric governing class, your preferences about what should happen in your own country matter not at all, full stop. Elite interests are not your interests.


When exactly America lost its true democracy or whether it ever truly manifested in the first place is obviously up for debate. What is not debatable is that Americans’ birthright of self-governance, as enumerated in the founding documents of this Great Experiment, has been stolen — specifically, and ironically, by the same band of ravenous vultures who preach nonstop about the Democracy™ they stifle.

Trump was 100% over the target when he promised to #draintheswamp. Unfortunately, the swamp is murkier than it’s ever been, with no real hope of remedy in the immediate future.

Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster … for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.  — Friedrich Nietzsche


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