The influence of money in politics has drowned out the voices of American voters, giving more political weight to the wealthy, says a study to be published in the fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics.
Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University compared the public’s influence on 1,779 policy issues between 1981 and 2002 and found that when 80 percent of the public asked for a change of some kind, they got their way only about 43 percent of the time.
“I expected to find that ordinary Americans had a modest degree of influence over government policy and that mass-based interest groups would serve to promote those interests,” says Gilens.
“What we found instead was that ordinary Americans have virtually no influence over government policy and that mass-based interest groups as a whole do not reliably side with the wishes of the average citizen,” he says.
The solution, according to Gilens and Page, is campaign finance reform.
But then there are the Supreme Court's rulings that say limits on campaign spending infringe on free speech.