Political opinions. Everyone’s got ‘em. It’d be great if they could keep them to themselves but so would attaining world peace. But despite our chaotic left/right differences, 99% of Americans can lock arms in unity on one thing. The 1% wields too much political power and the average U.S. citizen is but a serf in their self-righteous kingdom.
While a gazillionaire’s only concern is where their next gazillion will come from, the working stiff at the gas pump can’t afford to fill up his F-150. Because their priorities are polar opposite, it only stands to reason how their political opinions might also drastically differ. Haves and have-nots want different things.
Donald Trump recognized the problem and blamed it on the self-centered greedy “liberal elites,” while Bernie Sanders raised a ruckus over anyone who made more money than he did. Yet. The problem remains.
Political scientists Joshua Kertzer and Jonathan Renshon figured the only way to properly address the issue was by first learning what makes these wealthy elites tick. What criteria do they base their opinions on, and how much sway do they have with political leaders?
Their study demolished Webster’s unabridged definition of the word democracy. To gain popularity, elites will act on what they only believe the public opinion to be, when in actuality, they have no idea what the public is really asking for. In doing so they’ll spread dollars across the political spectrum promoting the wrong thing. But, only if what they’re promoting in some way benefits them, right or wrong. It’s just business.
“We acknowledge that political elites are so important to understanding how our democracy functions, so understanding ways to improve their decisions should lead us to understand how to improve the policymaking process more generally,” Kertzer explained.
Kertzer said it was easy to interview people on the street but gaining an audience with the elite proved to be a challenge. They stay busy and don’t take kindly to strangers poking around in their business. For this reason, they studied their biographies, memoirs, and past histories of political meandering.
Almost completely across the board, the team found egg-headed egos to be the root of the problem. For instance, elites understand the public outcry over climate control, but they also believe that normal people don’t know nearly enough about it as they think they do. The elites hear, but they never quite get it.
The 1% also believe that the general public is ignorant on matters of foreign affairs because there’s no way anyone could know the information their wealth makes them privy to. They play the international market.
While this way of thinking covers the majority of elites, the others couldn’t care less about public opinion. No one can tell them anything and they’re gonna stick Ben Franklin’s in the pockets of anyone they choose as long as they get something out of it, and that’s that.
This is not democracy. This is not giving the busboy at Shoney’s the same political voice as the CEO of Coca-Cola who makes more in one day than he makes in three months of scraping half-gnawed Brussel sprouts off of plates.
Will it ever change? Can it ever change? Money has always spoken in ear-deafening decibels and even politicians, believe it or not, are human. The answer is “it’s complicated,” which also means probably not.
Trump couldn’t change the norm and Sanders… well… anyway. If you really think about it, once a politician is elected to a prominent position and starts receiving all of that extra unaccounted-for income, don’t they also become one of the elite who will then be forced to continue bending over for the elites who propelled them to that financial level if they want to keep their new status? You might need to read that again.