Mosquito Outbreak, What’s Happening In Congress, America As An Oligarchy

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

A professor of political science dove into the inner-workings of American politics, and says we’re living not in a democracy, but an oligarchy. Veronica Rueckert and Rob Ferrett find out why. They’ll also discuss why the mosquitoes seems to be so bad lately, and check in with USA Today’s Paul Singer about what’s happening in Congress this week.

Featured in this Show

  • Researchers Say U.S. Isn't A True Democracy

    A recent political science study argues that the U.S. political system doesn’t function as the by the people, for the people democracy it claims to be.

    Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, both professors of politics at Princeton and Northwestern, respectively, conclude in their research that the democracy that once was the United States is now controlled more by the political affluent and influent than the common citizen.

    Their study analyzed data from nearly 1,800 policy initiatives from over two decades to find who comparatively has a voice in setting national policy: average citizens, economic elites, or interest groups.

    Gilens said, according to the results, “Ordinary citizens have virtually no influences at all.”

    “Interest groups and the economic elite had considerable influence. The extent to which they favored or opposed some proposed policy change was strongly related to the likelihood of that change being adopted,” said Gilens.

    Political analysts interpreted the article to be a statement that the United States is more of an oligarchy, but Gilins said he thinks otherwise.

    “It’s more that of those people who are interested in shaping government action, the more money you have, the more influence you have,” said Gilens.

    An article Gilens wrote about the study has challenged the popular consensus that average citizens have similar clout as the wealthy, organized elite — and additionally, stirs debate of whether the political system is flawed or is working as designed.

    Page and Gilens’ article, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” will be featured in the fall edition of The Academic Journal.

  • Why The Mosquitoes Are So Bad, So Early In The Season

    Some are saying it’s the worst mosquito outbreak in recent memory. An entomologist discusses why the the mosquitos are so bad, so early in the season.

  • This Week In Congress – June 4, 2014

    USA Today Politics and Congress Editor Paul Singer joins Central Time for his weekly update on happenings in Congress.

  • Is The United States A Democracy?

    Princeton political science professor discusses his research that suggests that the United States is actually an oligarchy, not a democracy.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Rob Ferrett Interviewer
  • Martin Gilens Guest
  • P.J. Liesch Guest
  • Paul Singer Guest

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