Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.


​Oligarchy, not democracy: Americans have ‘near-zero’ input on policy – report

Published time: April 15, 2014 03:46
Edited time: April 16, 2014 12:26
Reuters / Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Reuters / Amr Abdallah Dalsh

The first-ever scientific study that analyzes whether the US is a democracy, rather than an oligarchy, found the majority of the American public has a “minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy” compared to the wealthy.

The study, due out in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, sets out to answer elusive questions about who really rules in the United States. The researchers measured key variables for 1,779 policy issues within a single statistical model in an unprecedented attempt “to test these contrasting theoretical predictions” – i.e. whether the US sets policy democratically or the process is dominated by economic elites, or some combination of both.

"Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts,” the researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University wrote.

While “Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association,” the authors say the data implicate “the nearly total failure of 'median voter' and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. 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."

The authors of “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” say that even as their model tilts heavily toward indications that the US is, in fact, run by the most wealthy and powerful, it actually doesn’t go far enough in describing the stranglehold connected elites have on the policymaking process.

“Our measure of the preferences of wealthy or elite Americans – though useful, and the best we could generate for a large set of policy cases – is probably less consistent with the relevant preferences than are our measures of the views of ordinary citizens or the alignments of engaged interest groups,” the researcher said.

“Yet we found substantial estimated effects even when using this imperfect measure. The real-world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater.”

They add that the “failure of theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy is all the more striking because it goes against the likely effects of the limitations of our data. The preferences of ordinary citizens were measured more directly than our other independent variables, yet they are estimated to have the least effect.”

Despite the inexact nature of the data, the authors say with confidence that “the majority does not rule -- at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes.”

“We believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened,” they concluded.

Comments (70)


Superabound 18.04.2014 20:43

[quote name='Winston Blake' time='18.04.2014 00:41'][/quote]

Youre right about everything except the US government being Communist. Its actually Fascist, which is the opposite of Communism. Think about it, who is it you learned everything you "know" about Communism from? The very same government, system, and ruling elites this article is talking about. They bamboozled you into thinking that the one thing that could have SAVED you was actually your enemy. If the US government is Communist, why does it spend so much money and effort destroying actual Communist countries?


Winston Blake 18.04.2014 00:41

The U.S. State Dept. has been infested with communists since WW1 and Woodrow Wilson, they tried to steal the Russian elections for their comrades in the Russian Communist Party through non-profit n.g.o.s., just like at home in America.

Bu t Vladimir Putin beat them, so they launched a fággot jihad against the Russian Orthodox church over the the punk rock band and the Olympics (something Romney also piled onto)

The Jewish globalist financiers funding Sodom Hussein Obama, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the Salafist terror groups opposing Assad in Syria want control just like they wanted Libyan oil for the EUSSR


Steven Nodlehs 17.04.2014 08:13

Dwight - where are the debates on a national level regarding alternative choices apart from the same 2 parties?

Why, when we live in a world dominated by US wars, are the public still not shown any proof linking anyone other than the US government to 9/11?

Not one single piece of scientific evidence has ever been released and no one is allowed to ask why either?

The world is still waiting and we will never forgive or forget the lies the US has told and the millions of lives taken illegally.

Push your member of Congress to support resolution 428 - being an informed American you'll know what that is won't you???

View all comments (70)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or



Show password


or Register

Request a new password


or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:


or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile



New password

Retype new password

Current password



Follow us

Follow us