Esteemed political scientist Michael Jay Barber tells Salon why America is a democracy ... for fat-cat donorsElias Isquith
The American populace, as a whole, is not always a paragon of good judgment. Yet there’s at least one issue that they’ve got a pretty good handle on — the incredible degree of what Lawrence Lessig has described as a form of legalized corruption, and the detrimental effect it has on the U.S. government overall. Polling on this question can get a little tricky, because it can be difficult to know for sure what respondents are thinking of when they answer the question). But when Americans are asked to list the nation’s most pressing concerns, it’s become quite normal to find a dissatisfaction with government, or a concern about ethics and corruption, at or near the top.
According to a new study from Brigham Young University professor Michael Jay Barber, Americans’ sense that their government doesn’t work for them but rather for the wealthy and powerful is well-placed. In his research, Barber found what many might expect and fear — that politicians are paying much more attention to their financial backers than to anyone else. Constituents included. And even in this era of Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Wall Street supremacy, the distance between what voters want and what politicians care about is even greater than you’d think.