Who do the politicians work for? April 25, 2012 at 7:03 am
The behavior of politicians, in Europe as in the United States, suggests that the people to which they are accountable are not primarily the fraction of their labor force that is out of work. This is different from the 1970s, when elected officials did seem to behave as though they were accountable to unemployed people, and put central bankers under intense pressure to be accommodative. Something has changed.
[parties became] ‘catch-all’ parties, no longer focused on mobilizing a core electorate, but instead diluting their ideological identities to attract voters from outside their traditional hunting grounds. In order to do this, parties became more centralized around their leaderships, whilst the membership – which constrained the leaders’ strategic room for manoeuvre – were neglected. Increasingly parties become professionalized, with the role of grassroots activists replaced by paid experts in media and communications…
Where mass parties [of the past] acted as links between civil society and the state… [these new cartel parties] have been entirely absorbed by the state, and correspondingly detached from civil society.
In other, plain words, they don’t work for you even – especially – if you are a party member. They work for the apparatus; and that, of course, means mostly those with the money, the media, and the lobbyists.