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      Many studies have been done to determine who the politicians in our state and federal governments actually represent, and we get the same answer every time. Democrats work for the middle and working class, and Republicans work for the rich and powerful.

      This is unlikely to surprise most of us here, but perhaps it is time for Democratic candidates to sock this home in their campaign ads and speeches. After all, it isn't just an opinion, it is the finding of a number studies, and when we look at policies that come out of GOP rule it couldn't be clearer. Party matters!

      As an aside, in the studies represented here, Republicans were less likely to represent their constituents' ideologies no matter what their income! (thus the idea that they seem to be working for themselves rather than the people.)

      Even more exasperating, there is also a case to be made from these studies, showing that it is possible that the U.S. government may be one made by interest groups, in which voters aren't really listened to at all.

      Space only permits a small potion of the article that has written for VOX, but please read the entire article, as it has some amazing tables and diagrams to prove the points that political scientists are making in these four studies.


      An independent, a Democrat, and two Republicans. Win McNamee/Getty Images

      Political scientists are finding an alarming pattern.

      If you think American politics is a rigged shell game, where the views of the rich and powerful count but those of regular Americans don’t, then two prominent political scientists agree with you.

      Gilens and Page found that the model that best predicted policy outcomes based on public opinion was "Economic-Elite Domination" — where the rich have influence, and the rest do not.

      But since then, new research has painted a more nuanced, and in many ways more intriguing, portrait of how well or poorly Washington represents the views of the American people. This research suggests that not all politicians ignore the views of the poor and middle class.

      Democratic elected officials are much likelier to share the policy opinions of the poor or middle class on economic policy, while Republican officials are likelier to diverge from middle-class public opinion in favor of representing the views of the wealthy.

      In other words, Congress isn’t just an undifferentiated mass ignoring what the public thinks. Party matters.

      Using big data to see if members of Congress agree with their rich or poor constituents, . . . .four papers in particular have all suggested a strong difference between how Republican and Democratic politicians represent public opinion.

      1. Representation could be egalitarian: The representative does an equally good job reflecting the views of her poor, middle-class, and rich constituents.
      2. Or it could be populist: The representative’s views more closely match those of her poor and middle-class constituents than those of her rich constituents.
      3. Finally, it could be oligarchic: The representative more closely matches the views of rich constituents than poor constituents.

      Democratic representatives provided populist representation: They matched the views of their poor constituents more than those of their rich constituents. The opposite was true for Republicans: Republicans matched their rich constituents better than their poor ones.

      Republicans were less likely to match with their constituents' ideologies overall — whether those constituents were poor or wealthy. A wealthy constituent would get about the same level of ideology match from a Democrat or a Republican. It’s just that the match would be on the low end compared to other constituents for a Democrat, and on the high end for a Republican.

      The four papers all show something crucial when thinking about how Congress and policymakers represent the public: party matters. Rather than Democrats and Republicans both sharing views with the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, you see a more complex pattern. Especially on economic issues, it appears that Democrats respond more to the poor and middle class, and Republicans more to the affluent.

      "More troubling, affluent Americans may hear official opinions first, meaning we would observe a greater association between their opinions and policy even if the true channel of influence were from government to the affluent."

      This interpretation, if true, is immensely troubling. The problem, in the world, is not that elected officials just listen to the rich. It’s that they, for the most part, don’t “listen” to anyone — and instead the rich are the only ones who listen to politicians. In this scenario, we don’t even have a kind of elitist, limited suffrage democracy where only the rich are listened to. We have a government by interest groups in which voters-qua-voters aren’t really listened to at all.

      https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/2/16226202/oligarchy-political-science-politician-congress-respond-citizens-public-opinion

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          opie
          2 weeks ago

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          Good piece opie, but is this news? Anyone who follows politics should already know this.

          The GOP only represents the lowest common denominator of their base. Otherwise, they represent the wishes of their big dollar contributors. Democrats generally represent the concerns of their constituents, but the problem is their constituents don't vote in large numbers, especially in mid-term elections.

          Therefore, what we have today is a government where the concerns of roughly 35% of the population is forced on the remaining 65% of the population, because 60% of that 65% would rather complain about what the government does or doesn't do, than to actually participate in deciding what the government does or doesn't do.

          I refuse to believe that the majority of Americans are racists, bigots and misogynists, however the majority of the people in Congress and the current president are more focused on the concerns of people who are racists, bigots and misogynists than they are about the concerns of the rest of us. So, it appears our job is fairly simple. We have to figure out a way to get more participation from the 60% of the 65% who are not racists, bigots and misogynists.

          Btw, I hope you had a great Mother's Day.

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              TOCB
              2 weeks ago

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              I have a hard time believing the Republican Party represents anyone but the most wealthiest and of those only the ones who contribute to their Party. Those other people, comprising their base, are merely being used by the Republicans to achieve their goals of accommodating the wealthy. These low common denominator types as you call them or as I would say, deplorables, just aren't smart enough to figure they are being used because they may have gotten one concession that makes them happy like not having their guns taken away from them which wasn't even an issue but one which was made up to please the base.

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                      opie
                      2 weeks ago

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                      The Democratic party has not made the proper reforms to win back the trust of the base. They still keep primaries closed, they still use super delegates and worst of all they still take corporate money. It doesn't matter how bad the republicans are if the dems continue to alienate the progressive base.

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                          Micheal.L
                          2 weeks ago

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                          Your comment is a prime example of why our country is currently only focused on the concerns of 35% of Americans. The Democratic Party is a private organization that is concerned about making government work for all people, including btw, wealthy people. All wealthy people are not greedy a-holes, although that seems to be a common characteristic of wealthy people.

                          They keep primaries closed? What organization allows non-members to decide how their organization operates? Don't worry about trying to think of an answer to this question. The answer is none. If you want to be involved in how the Democratic Party operates, become a member of the Democratic Party. As a Democrat, I do not support open primaries. General elections are open.

                          They still use super delegates? Yes, we do. Do you have any idea WHY the Democratic Party has super delegates? PLEASE allow me to explain it to you. Most people who vote in elections, primary or general, don't research or study the issues related to governing, or the candidates who are applying for the job of governing. Super delegates on the other hand, are people who are very involved in the sausage making of politics. In addition to trying to measure the pulse of their constituents, who btw, they see as ALL people, they attempt to maintain the integrity of the party and the nation. So if voters who don't do the research nominate someone like Donald Trump to represent our party, super delegates do everything they can within the rules of the party to prevent such a person from representing the party. This is much like the original intent of the electoral college, but a whole lot more inclusive. As a Democrat, I support super delegates. Btw, super delegates in the Democratic Party have NEVER in the history of the party supported a candidate that the majority of the voters did not support, although that is not the design of the super delegate rule.

                          They still take corporate money? Yes they do. Again, WHY? Election laws allow corporations and wealthy people to contribute to campaigns. PACs and super PACs fund campaign ads to get the message of the candidate or the special interest groups that is supporting that candidate out to the public. Since the Citizens United decision, the funding does not even have to be transparent, which means it also doesn't have to be restricted. As we have seen, even foreign interests like Russian oligarchs can contribute to super PACs. Guess who the Citizens United case was brought to specifically harm? Hillary Clinton. Yet, the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign promoted the notion that Hillary Clinton, of all people, supported Citizens United. That was/is a lie.

                          Are Democrats perfect? Are YOU perfect? Is ANYONE perfect? It is the responsibility of the people to hold elected officials accountable. If a Democrat or republican or any elected official does not do the things the people want them to do, the job of the people is to not return that person to office. Our government is supposed to be of, for and by the people. Not of, for and by politicians, although it becomes of, for and by politicians when people don't participate in governing and allow themselves to be divided due to misinformation.

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                                  Micheal.L
                                  2 weeks ago

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                                  In my state (and many others) the primaries are not closed. We now have candidates who put a voluntary cap on contributions, and every registered voter gets a ballot mailed to them that they can mail in, put in a drop box that are convenient for all districts, or take to the polls.

                                  Closed primaries are a state wide thing for both parties - not just Dems. The following have closed primaries

                                  14 states — Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Wyoming — have closed primaries. Semi-closed. As in closed primaries, registered party members can vote only in their own party's primary.

                                  Not all Dems take corporate money - especially not among the newer candidates.

                                  Those who hack away at the Dems are the ones who help us to get folks like Trump/Pence and a GOP Congress..

                                  We can try to do better, but not by demonizing our own party. If you are a Dem, it is up to you to try to help your party and make sure you work to put your suggestions and complaints into the mix.

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                                      opie
                                      2 weeks ago

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                                      Dems need to drive home the point that the economy generally does much better under their control than under Republicans'. They need to claim the current economy as well. It was handed off by Barack Obama, and so far, even Trump's incompetence and irresponsible tweeting hasn't really adversely affected it. They need to point out that, as long as he has the helm, the economic growth is in danger. If people want it to keep humming along, they need to return it to the stewardship of Dems.


                                      They need to point out that Trump has literally attacked the poor, disabled, low-income, and elderly with his statements of his policies. Everything he's said and done so far has disadvantaged already vulnerable groups. He said it straight out:

                                      IN IOWA:

                                      Because at the end of the day, Trump explained, he doesn’t want “a poor person” in charge of the economy.

                                      “Somebody said, ‘Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?’” Trump told the crowd. “[And] I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’” Trump went on to explain to the unwashed masses that Ross and Cohn “had to give up a lot to take these jobs” and that the former Goldman No. 2 “went from massive paydays to peanuts.”

                                      Amazingly, it somehow got even better from there.

                                      “I love all people,” Trump said. “Rich or poor. But in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?” Trump asked. Perhaps he was waiting for someone in the crowd to shout back, Yes, Donald, it does!

                                      https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/06/donald-tru...


                                      Another view of his remarks here: https://www.cnn.com/2017/06/22/politics/donald-tru...


                                      And this report:


                                      President Donald Trump has offered a simple explanation for his wealthy Cabinet choices: Rich people know how to manage money better than poor people do.

                                      In a rambling aside at a rally in Iowa on Wednesday night, Trump responded to criticism about his choices for top economic jobs, including billionaire investor Wilbur Ross for Commerce secretary and former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn for chief economic advisor.

                                      Trump, who bashed Goldman Sachs during the presidential campaign, received backlash for choosing wealthy Wall Street figures for top administration posts. Many of his nominees had complex financial holdings around the world, which created myriad potential conflicts.

                                      Trump contended on Wednesday that wealthy people can better run the U.S. economy because they do not need money.

                                      "I love all people, rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person," Trump said. "Does that make sense? Does that make sense? If you insist, I'll do it. But I like it better this way, right?"


                                      Here are Trump's comments from the Iowa rally:

                                      So, somebody said, 'Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?' … I said, 'because that's the kind of thinking we want.' I mean, you know, really. Because they're representing the country. They don't want the money. They're representing the country and they had to give up a lot to take these jobs. They gave up a lot. And you get the president — this is the president of Goldman Sachs. Smart. Having him represent us. He went from massive paydays to peanuts, to little tiny — I'm waiting for them to accuse him of wanting that little amount of money. They wanted that. But these are people that are great, brilliant business minds. And that's what we need, that's what we have so the world doesn't take. … We can't have the world taking advantage of us anymore. And I love all people, rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person. Does that make sense? Does that make sense? If you insist, I'll do it. But I like it better this way, right?

                                      https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/22/trump-i-just-dont-...


                                      Trump's entire, arrogant premise is wrong. It's full of bias, snobbery, and informed by those old, tired conservative assumptions that anyone who isn't filthy rich has character flaws, or lacks intelligence or imagination, or is "other".


                                      How many bankruptcies has Trump taken? On a CASINO?

                                      When did New York shut down his sham foundation?

                                      How many of his 3,500+ lawsuits were about not being paid for work done, or some other financial scam?

                                      Wasn't he ordered to pay $25 MILLION to people who signed up for his sham 'university'?

                                      How much of tax payer dollars is Trump siphoning off for his own financial gain at tax payers' expense when he holds government business meetings at his PRIVATE properties?


                                      Everything about Trump is corrupt. And that's who ended up in the White House.


                                      In the meantime, wages are still suppressed 18 years after they peaked in 1999. Wages have not kept up with more than 70 inflation points during that period.


                                      It was Barack Obama who saved the macroeconomy and set the record for job growth in a Presidential term. As usual, Trump takes credit for work he didn't do, ideas he's incapable of forming, and success that isn't his - it's OURS because WE are the ones who keep those businesses running - at OUR expense.

                                      Dems need to start claiming their victories and outlining exactly what they intend to do to make ALL American lives better.

                                      Sponsored.




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                                          alltheworldsastage
                                          2 weeks ago

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                                          Thank you opieStephen and Richard Caslon for S/S. :)


                                          Dems must start claiming their victories and achievements rather than coming from behind defending them against cynical liars. They also need to start using colorful charts, videos, and pix to get their points across. Nothing wrong with art. LOL

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                                                  alltheworldsastage
                                                  2 weeks ago

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                                                  Excellent post S/S and of course, I Agree. We are better off under Dems, even when it takes a Democratic Admin to have to try to clean up the Republican mess as Obama was charged with having to do.

                                                  As for Trump and his rich buddies, the ONLY thing that they are interested in is getting richer off of our tax money and our labor.


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