The American president is referred to as the leader of the free world because in theory, America is the largest democracy in the world whose populace is absolutely free. Indeed, the American constitution and all its amendments clearly establish and outline this freedom. Indeed, the theory is put into practice as the American populace democratically elects all their leaders from the presidency, the state governors, all legislatures to local authorities. Decision-making is then left to these elected officials (Brown, 2015). The concept is that since they have been elected by the people, they will definitely make the decisions that are in the best interest of the populace and further that their decisions are just as if they have been made by the populace itself. This makes the populace supreme, the democracy absolute, and the American people in charge of the nation. This perfect theory has however been indicated to have been negated by the concept of lobbying (Drutman, 2015). Indeed, it has been said that the process of lobbying is so influential that the populace and their elected representatives are hapless against it thus the only supreme force in America is the corporations that control and fund lobbying.
Background of the Issue
At the advent of the United States, legislators did not receive any stipend from the government or the populace. This limited legislators to individuals who could afford to stay without working and also sustain themselves in the union’s capital at the same time. All initial legislators were, therefore, the richest members of the community, mainly wealthy planters or major entrepreneurs (Brown, 2015). This was changed to give everyone an opportunity to be elected including those not financially secure. The basic concept behind the move was to avoid the concept of corpocracy, which refers to leadership by corporation or their rich owners. Contemporaneously, antitrust laws were developed to further reduce the power of corporations in America and to avoid the development of legal cartels (Brown, 2015). These laws, rules and regulations ensured that at all times, America would only be governed and superintended by the will of the populace or in the very list a majority of them.
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The Concept Lobbying
Whereas the framework set to secure American democracy sound perfect in theory, it has failed mainly due to the practice of lobbying. Lobbying is defined as the lawful influencing of elected leaders to make a certain decision or pass a certain law which is conducted by advocates who have been paid by individuals whose interests shall be met by the said decisions (Drutman, 2015). In practice, whenever a decision is set to be made or a law is set to be passed, wealthy individuals or corporations who are set to be positively or adversely affected by the law hire advocates to influence the decision making individuals to make a decision that favors the individual or corporation. With time, the concept became so widespread and successful in the USA that professional and well-established lobbying organizations have been set up in Washington DC and around state capitals to carry out the business of lobbying. According to industry commentators, the lobbyists have so perfected their art that at the right price, they can guarantee any result and provide it. Therefore, as long as a corporation can afford the right price for lobbying, the decision will always be made in their favors (Drutman, 2015).
How Lobbying Negates Democracy
Democracy is defined as a government that is constituted by the people and also operates at the whims of the people through their lawfully elected representatives. This definition of democracy, therefore, defines both how the government is created and how it works. It is incumbent upon democratically elected representative to only act in the interests of the populace that elected them (Drutman, 2015). When the interests of everyone cannot be met, democracy demands that the interests of the majority be met. In America, majority of the citizens belong to the three lower echelons of the social strata with the top echelon having less than 10 percent of the populace. It is within this 10% that the corporate owners and individuals whose interests are vested in corporations are. The concept of lobbying ensures that each and every time the interests of the 90% contradict those of the 10% of the populace, the 90% get their say but the 10% get their way. Therefore, albeit the majority elects the government, actual leadership of the nation falls upon the minority who carry actual power thus America is not a real democracy as indicated or at all (Drutman, 2015).
Lobbying as aforesaid is the act of using influence of any kind, pecuniary or otherwise to cause a public official to perform a duty in favor of a particular paying client. This is contrary to the democratic expectation that public duties will be performed in the interest of the entire populace in the very least a majority thereof. The upshot of the foregoing is that by virtue of the concept of lobbying, the democracy in America exists only in theory but in practice the government is a corpocracy. The populace elects the leaders but when the said leaders are carrying out their duties, they are under the control of the rich and powerful through well-established lobbies. Indeed, as a result of the said lobbying, the act of voting and electing leaders is nullity as the leaders will not in the end execute the will of the electorate.
Brown, H. (2015). Peter Levine’s book, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For. Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education , 5
Drutman, L. (2015). The business of America is lobbying . Explaining the Growth of Corporate Political Activity in Washington, DC . Retrieved from https://techliberation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/business_of_america_is_lobbying.pdf