4 days ago
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
IS THE 99% THE UNINVOLVED MAJORITY?
Regarding a study of the differences in politics of the 1% and the 99% authored by the political scientists Benjamin Page, Fay Lomax Cook, and Rachel Moskowitz and recently released by the Russell Sage Foundation, found that the politics of the very wealthy are strikingly different.
Wealthy Americans are far more active in politics than less affluent citizens. Nearly all respondents said they voted in the 2008 elections; half of the respondents said they had contacted at least one type of government official in the past year; 41% reported attending a campaign speech or event and 68% said they donated to a political cause or campaign in the past four years. Roughly one of five respondents said they "bundled" contributions from other people for a party or political cause; on average, respondents reported giving $4,633 to political campaigns and organizations in the past year.
Lets look at 41 percent of the very wealthy reported attending a political meeting. Only 9 percent of Americans did so in 2008. But no definition of a political meeting is included. So my cynical mind says "Well of course! The 1% can afford those gazillion dollar a plate dinners."
The thing I like about reading news on the internet is that a little thought and a few clicks and you can usually find out what the story leaves out. Turns out the study considered attending a campaign speech or event as attending a political meeting. So that rally at the fairgrounds would count as much as a fund raising dinner.
I would still argue that rich folks have better attendance because they can afford travel to attend events held far from their residence; but I also admit that I didn't go to see McCain when he was in town during the last election. Actually, I didn't even know he was here, so the word must have been spread through GOP channels only. Guess they wanted to limit the hecklers. Would I have gone if I known about it and free tickets were available and I was free that day? Probably not. but I have attended "meet and greets" of local and state candidates.
But really, how accessible are most political events for the average Americans? And is it getting harder to actually see a political candidate in person without some sort of group affiliation? Do you accept the concept of saying the 1% is more involved in politics and so have earned the right to have more say?