Wealthy elites have always exercised a disproportionate influence in the political realm, but in 21st century America they now completely rule the roost. Our democracy has degenerated into a full-fledged oligarchy—and that’s not just leftist boilerplate, but the verdict of a new study by two scholars at Princeton University. Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page examined 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002 and concluded that the will of the majority of voters is routinely ignored by politicians owned lock, stock and barrel by rich donors.
When Franklin Roosevelt was campaigning by whistle-stop, it didn’t cost millions of dollars. But nowadays candidates for the House average over $1 million in campaign contributions. For the Senate, it’s over $10 million. For President, it’s over $100 million—not including all the money spent by super PACs.