Why is it that political parties are so dominant in government, even while voter dissatisfaction with them is at an all-time high?
Since we’re used to the status quo, we sometimes forget to ask this question. But in a typical democracy, being unpopular usually leads to political failure.
And yet, despite historically poor public standing, the Democrat-Republican stranglehold on Washington is as strong as it’s ever been.
Fortune magazine has an idea as to why:
To answer that question, we’ve applied the tools of business analysis to American politics. Our conclusion: U.S. politics is an industry—a duopoly that’s about as anticompetitive as you’re likely to find these days. The result, as a prominent 2014 study by Princeton’s Martin Gilens and Northwestern’s Benjamin Page shows, is that the preferences of the average voter have a near-zero impact on public policy.