The US is a typical country dominated by an elite class. Political pluralism is only a facade. A small number of elites dominate the political, economic and military affairs. They control the state apparatus and policy-making process, manipulate public opinion, dominate the business community and enjoy all kinds of privileges. Since the 1960s in particular, the Democrats and Republicans have taken turns to exercise power, making the “multiparty system” dead in all but name. For ordinary voters, casting their votes to a third party or an independent candidate is nothing more than wasting the ballot. In effect, they can only choose either the Democratic candidate or the Republican one.
In the context of Democratic-Republican rivalry, the general public’s participation in politics is restricted to a very narrow scope. For ordinary voters, they are only called upon to vote and are forgotten once they have cast their ballots. Most people are just “walk-ons” in the theater of election. This makes “government by the people” hardly possible in US political practice.
Noam Chomsky, a political commentator and social activist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, points out that the US?is a “really existing capitalist democracy”, where there is a positive correlation between people’s wealth and their influence on policy-making. For the lower 70% on the wealth/income scale, they have no influence on policy whatsoever. They are effectively disenfranchised.
Ray La Raja, Professor at?the University of Massachusetts,?notes in an article for?The Atlantic?that America’s current system is democratic only in form, not in substance. The?nominating process?is vulnerable to manipulation by plutocrats, celebrities, media figures and activists. Many presidential?primary voters mistakenly back candidates who do not reflect their views.