By Fareed Zakaria
There are many who argue that Washington, isn't really broken, it simply represents a country that is deeply divided. If so, the we are talking about provide a useful set of tests. Thumping majorities of Americans support immigration reform. According to a recent Gallup poll, 72 percent say undocumented workers should be given green cards or citizenship. A similar percentage wants to give more visas to high-tech workers. Or look at gun control – a recent Pew poll showed large majorities favor commonsense controls: universal background checks; preventing those with mental illnesses from buying guns; bans on semiautomatic and assault-style weapons.
In a large, diverse democracy, these are substantial majorities. But will they translate into legislative majorities in Congress? If not, it suggests there is a real disconnect between the country and its capital.
Watch the video for the full Take.
In this segment of the program, a growing disparity between public opinion polls and the actions of congress is identified. Do we have a congress than no longer reflects the will of the people? In many respects we do. One of the major causes of this gap is the ever increasing power and influence of lobbying groups. With the blessing of the supreme court, a few very wealthy individuals are able to exert a disproportionate level of power and influence over government policies to advance their self interests.
This has also contributed to the exponential rise in the cost of election campaigns. Candidates can no longer rely on contributions from individuals alone to compete on the same level with opposition candidates funded by well-heeled lobbying groups. Once elected with the aid of lobbyist dollars, it’s not hard to predict where the loyalty of the elected candidate’s vote will lie. A spinoff is disillusionment of many average individual voters who conclude their interests as represented by their vote is insignificant by comparison to the interests of wealthy individuals. This only serves to enhance the impact of the lobby dollars.
This legalized form of influence pedaling impacts all legislation to one degree or another. Until this unbridled power is reined in, we will continue to have a government that increasingly favors special interests over the will of the people.
I would welcome an open discussion of this issue on GPS.
You have hit the nail on the head! I would love to see a law BANNING any lobbyist, special interest groups, etc., from even talking with ANY elected official! Guess I will continue to dream. LOL
The people in DC are on the take and do not represent the best interest of the people, so they are VERY disconnected. They brought us to bankrupcy,off shored most of the jobs to India and China.
I really get a kick out of job creation discussions. No one seems to mention the fact that off shored jobs need to return. They seem to believe in some magic wand that will create jobs for our 24 million unemployed. I think it was England where they bought the polls so that WW II could begin. Most of the people in Britain were against the war in Iraq and the screwy polls along with bought leadership went to war. So , please, your polls are just propaganda.
Speaking of propaganda. WWII started when Germany invaded Poland . No polls required.Just arrogance on Germanys part. Within hours France and Great Britain declared war on Germany starting WWII. Sept.1st 1939.
Well, I think that.... Sorry, I was vomiting.
Indeed, both James Baker and Alan Simpson, the two old foxes maintained that things had never been worse in the old days in Washington. So what has gone wrong? How can the Congress get away with its arrogance?
DC has got to be the most non-social, boring town in the US. All the govt' employees lock themselves up in their respective massive govt. buildings and never go out to socialize with the public. It is super boring.
Q: Is Washington disconnected from Americans?
A: Whoever asks this question is ignorant of Twentieth Century American history.
The government in Washington does not represent the will of the "common American".
Senators, Congressmen and the Office of the President, have always been for sale to the highest bidder. From dirty little wars (South America, Kuwait, Iraq), to protecting entrenched business interests (Oil, Sugar, Finance and Pharma) i If you can grease the right palm, you can have anything on the menu.
IIf the American people could be bothered to read, they would discover that we have Congressmen from Pfizer and American Chrystal Sugar and Senators from Exxon and Goldman-Sachs. I'm not even going to go into the mess of the Bush-Cheney administration.
No sell-out in Washington, DC. USA and Western Alliance want to keep control in business and politics. We not need that much Asia – no benefits – no business – no unnecessary imports.
We live in a CAPITALIST Society – Our Supreme Court has Declared that MONEY is 1st Amendment Protected Speech and Corporations are PEOPLE with considerably MORE Rights and Privileges and Protections than the FLESHY kind of People. Our REPRESENTATIVES – Represent the Biggest Pile of CASH.
Not MONEY, living is the most valuable asset. USA does not live in one capitalist society anymore, but "blind-korean-list" society – unfortunatelly.
There is a huge disconnect between the people , DC and the media. Lack of feedback from people is due to censorship , comment manipulation which belong in a totalitarian state. Soon , very few people will comment because commenting is becoming more and more difficult.It definately is not a democracy where one will fear expressing one's views.
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The Global Public Square is where you can make sense of the world every day with insights and explanations from CNN's Fareed Zakaria, leading journalists at CNN, and other international thinkers. Join GPS editor Jason Miks and get informed about global issues, exposed to unique stories, and engaged with diverse and original perspectives.
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Check out all of Fareed's Washington Post columns here:
Obama as a foreign policy president?
Why Snowden should stand trial in U.S.
Hillary Clinton's truly hard choice
China's trapped transition
Obama should rethink Syria strategy
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