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America Is Not A Democracy

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Old_Trapper70, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Old_Trapper70

    Old_Trapper70 Well-Known Member

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    There are so many good points in this article that one has a hard time picking out what to use as a beginning. Thus I would have to urge everyone to read the entire article. The ideal situation would be where the words of the idealists (Government of the people, by the people, for the people) would be a reality. However, it is a fallacy. We have become a country ruled by elitist politicians who are ruled by the lobbiests, and corporate magnets, who are in turn ruled by the elitist 1%. The political influence of the people is minimal at best, and non existent at its worse:

    Trump made several promises when he accepted the nomination of the RNC of which this was one: “I am your voice,” That was a lie as was his proclaimation in his inaugural address: “Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/

    "Gilens and Page tested those theories by tracking how well the preferences of various groups predicted the way that Congress and the executive branch would act on 1,779 policy issues over a span of two decades. The results were shocking. Economic elites and narrow interest groups were very influential: They succeeded in getting their favored policies adopted about half of the time, and in stopping legislation to which they were opposed nearly all of the time. Mass-based interest groups, meanwhile, had little effect on public policy. As for the views of ordinary citizens, they had virtually no independent effect at all. “When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy,” Gilens and Page wrote.

    Outlets from The Washington Post to Breitbart News cited this explosive finding as evidence of what overeager headline writers called American oligarchy. Subsequent studies critiqued some of the authors’ assumptions and questioned whether the political system is quite as insulated from the views of ordinary people as Gilens and Page found. The most breathless claims made on the basis of their study were clearly exaggerations. Yet their work is another serious indication of a creeping democratic deficit in the land of liberty."

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    "The work of K Street lobbyists, and the violation of our government by big money, has fundamentally transformed the work—and the lives—of the people’s supposed representatives. Steve Israel, a Democratic congressman from Long Island, was a consummate moneyman. Over the course of his 16 years on Capitol Hill, he arranged 1,600 fund-raisers for himself, averaging one every four days. Israel cited fund-raising as one of the main reasons he decided to retire from Congress, in 2016: “I don’t think I can spend another day in another call room making another call begging for money,” he told The New York Times. “I always knew the system was dysfunctional. Now it is beyond broken.”

    A model schedule for freshman members of Congress prepared a few years ago by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee instructs them to spend about four hours every day cold-calling donors for cash. The party encourages so many phone calls because the phone calls work. Total spending on American elections has grown to unprecedented levels. From 2000 to 2012, reported federal campaign spending doubled. It’s no surprise, then, that a majority of Americans now believe Congress to be corrupt, according to a 2015 Gallup poll. As Israel memorably put it to HBO’s John Oliver, the hours he had spent raising money had been “a form of torture—and the real victims of this torture have become the American people, because they believe that they don’t have a voice in this system.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
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  2. Lagboltz

    Lagboltz Well-Known Member

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    America is becoming increasingly polarized both in the people and in the government. Posters are reduced to cursing at each other in any political thread in any forum. I don't see any way we can get back to a democracy with citizens and political parties at each others throats, and corporations in increasing control of both.
     
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  3. Old_Trapper70

    Old_Trapper70 Well-Known Member

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    My how things have changed:

    https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/88/441/case.html


    "The agreement in the present case was for the sale of the influence and exertions of the lobby agent to bring about the passage of a law for the payment of a private claim, without reference to its merits, by means which, if not corrupt, were illegitimate, and considered in connection with the pecuniary interest of the agent at stake, contrary to the plainest principles of public policy. No one has a right in such circumstances to put himself in a position of temptation to do what is regarded as so pernicious in its character. The law forbids the inchoate step, and puts the seal of its reprobation upon the undertaking.

    If any of the great corporations of the country were to hire adventurers who make market of themselves in this way, to procure the passage of a general law with a view to the promotion of their private interests, the moral sense of every right-minded man would instinctively denounce the employer and employed as steeped in corruption and the employment as infamous.

    If the instances were numerous, open, and tolerated, they would be regarded as measuring the decay of the public morals and the degeneracy of the times.
    No prophetic spirit would be needed to foretell the consequences near at hand. The same thing in lesser legislation, if not so prolific of alarming evils, is not less vicious in itself nor less to be condemned. The vital principle of both is the same. The evils of the latter are of sufficient magnitude to invite the most serious consideration. The prohibition of the law rests upon a solid foundation. A private bill is apt to attract little attention. It involves no great public interest, and usually fails to excite much discussion. Not unfrequently the facts are whispered to those whose duty it is to investigate, vouched for by them, and the passage of the measure is thus secured. If the agent is truthful and conceals nothing, all is well. If he uses nefarious means with success, the springhead and the stream of legislation are polluted. To legalize the traffic of such service would open a door at which fraud and falsehood would not fail to enter and make themselves felt at every accessible point. It would invite their presence and offer them a premium. If the tempted agent be corrupt himself and disposed to corrupt others, the transition requires but a single step. He has the means in his hands, with every facility and a strong incentive to use them. The widespread suspicion which prevails, and charges openly made and hardly denied, lead to the conclusion that such events are not of rare occurrence. Where the avarice of the agent is inflamed by the hope of a reward contingent upon success, and to be graduated by a percentage upon the amount appropriated, the danger of tampering in its worst form is greatly increased."
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
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  4. Lagboltz

    Lagboltz Well-Known Member

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    Ain't that the truth. They had more sense in 1874 than they do now. I wonder was that decision overruled later or is it just being ignored today. Hopefully someday Citizens United will be overruled.
     
  5. Old_Trapper70

    Old_Trapper70 Well-Known Member

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    Just being ignored like most every other common sense idea from the days of the Founders. Back then they actually prohibited corporations from having charters that lasted longer then 20 years, and corporate America was banned from interfering in politics. Most State Constitutions have such provisions written in, and yet it is not enforced.
     
  6. Lagboltz

    Lagboltz Well-Known Member

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    That sounds like there should be a class action suit.
     
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