How Political Corruption Affects Public Opinion

Ever felt like your voice is lost among the governing powers?

A comprehensive study led by Professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page delves into the question of whether the government truly represents its people. Their investigation spanned over 20 years, analyzing data from close to 2000 public opinion surveys and scrutinizing the alignment between public sentiment and enacted policies. The results are disheartening: the preferences of about 90% of Americans seem to hold virtually no sway.

A brief visual breakdown encapsulates their findings, revealing a striking incongruence between public opinion and U.S. legislation:

Princeton University study: Public opinion has minimal impact on U.S. law.

Do public sentiments steer the political course? According to Gilens & Page, the numerical support or opposition from the American populace for any given idea does not influence Congress’s likelihood to enact it into law.

Gilens & Page, Perspectives in Politics

So, what does hold sway? Money. While the bottom 90% of income earners in America seem to wield insignificant influence, economic elites, business interests, and those with access to lobbyists evidently hold significant sway.

Virtually every national issue is ensnared in corruption’s grasp.

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From taxation to national debt, education to the economy, America’s most pressing matters remain embroiled in a struggle where financial interests often prevail, leaving the majority to bear the brunt.

Influencing America’s government comes at a steep cost, but the returns are staggering.

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Over the last five years, the 200 most politically active U.S. companies allocated $5.8 billion to influence our government through lobbying and campaign contributions.

These companies in turn received $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support — reaping a 750-fold return on their investment.

It manifests as a cyclic legitimization of corruption.

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As the price tag for securing electoral victory skyrockets, politicians from both sides increasingly rely on a minute fraction of the population capable of financing their campaigns.

In 2014, Senate candidates had to raise $14,351 every single day to stand a chance. With just 0.05% of Americans contributing over $10,000 in any election, it’s evident who candidates turn to first and subsequently owe their allegiance upon winning.

Legislative decisions often cater to major donors at the expense of the general public.

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Our elected representatives devote 30-70% of their time in office to fundraising for their next electoral bid. When not engaged in fundraising, they are compelled to mold their legislation to appease their major contributors, as failure to do so could jeopardize their re-election prospects.

Without corrective action, corruption will impede progress across the board.

Represent.Us advocates a solution to curb political corruption, and it’s gaining ground. Use the yellow “submit” button to participate in our instant poll and share your stance on combating corruption in America.

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