What’s it called when only rich(er) people run for office?

congree-moneyAmerica.

From Juhem Navarro-Rivera at Demos:

…analyses looking at the type of people who are elected to office at the federal and state levels often find that most elected officials come from the upper economic stratum of American society. The reason for the socioeconomic biases among those elected to office is related to the barriers that people of modest means have to run for office.

The most obvious of these representation biases is in education. Ninety-five percent ofmembers of Congress have a college degree. In a country where only one-third of the adult population have a college diploma, having a 4-year degree becomes an invisible marker of electability and drastically reduces the pool of who can think of themselves as a candidate. This affects Latino/as in particular since as one-in-six (16 percent) have earned a college diploma.

In the case of Congress the educational barriers are not limited to four-year degrees. About two-thirds of House members and three-quarters of Senators also possess graduate degrees or professional degrees, particularly in law. Forty percent of members of Congress have a law degree, the most overrepresented profession by far.

Aside from coming from an educational elite, the median worth of members of Congress is over $1 million, 18 times the worth of the average American household.

 

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One response to “What’s it called when only rich(er) people run for office?

  1. The scientific term would be economic-elite domination and/or biased pluralism.

    [E]conomic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.
    Gilens and Page, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens PDF

    Or…Capitalism. What a concept.

    (sorry of this got repeated)

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