The first-ever scientific study that analyzes whether the US is a democracy, rather than an oligarchy, found the majority of the American public has a “minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy” compared to the wealthy.
The study, due out in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, sets out to answer elusive questions about who really rules in the United States. The researchers measured key variables for 1,779 policy issues within a single statistical model in an unprecedented attempt “to test these contrasting theoretical predictions” – i.e. whether the US sets policy democratically or the process is dominated by economic elites, or some combination of both.
"Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts,” the researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University wrote.
Hurricanes, toxic events, riots, and other emergencies in Florida could soon be enough to allow residents to circumvent the state’s gun laws and carry a weapon without a permit if a bill passed Friday is signed into law.
The bill would allow any Floridian without a criminal record to flaunt an assault weapon or pistol with a high-capacity magazine during a state of evacuation. Known as HB 209, the legislation passed in the state house by a 80-36 margin with support from the National Rifle Association. Six Democrats voted for the bill, ignoring Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s objection that the bill was too vague.
“To allow people to go into a riot while concealing a gun without a permit is the definition of insanity,” he told the Miami Herald. “The bill is crazy, it’s absurd.”