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The Difference between Pluralism and Elitism

7). Despite this charge, Reagan was reelected to a second term in one of the biggest electoral landslides in U.S. history.

One reason why individuals believe American politics must be viewed exclusively through the pluralistic or elitist lens is because more often than not those who favor one approach or the other associated their own ideals with them. As Wasserman (2006) points out, 'The concepts we adopt as most accurately reflecting political reality are bound also to reflect our own ideals' (p. 264). For example, King (1995) argues that for liberals 'elitist is a synonym for racist and sexist,' while to feminists 'an elitist is a fascist and pro-lifer' (p. 72). Time and again, the view one takes about American politics is closely linked to the values or issues one holds most dear. Democrats are often as guilty as Republicans in supporting special interest groups that favor their own interests, while Republicans often devise policy that does support the general interest. Partisan politics aside, Wasserman (2006) argues it is extremely difficult 'to put the political game under a single umbrella' (p. 263).

In both the pluralist and elitist model of politics, relatively few individuals are involved to a significant degree in the bargaining, consensus, and construction of public policy. The pluralist and the elitist politician both cater to narrow webs of power. What determines whether these approaches are serving the general interests is how 'competitive and representative' they are of public opinion, which is a concept that is often manipulated by both groups through the media or public opinion polls (Wasserman, 2006, p. 263). In trying to reach a consensus of opinion, both pluralists and elites use their power and institutions to reinforce their position. From gun control and abortion to gay marriage and other controversial issues, little consensus is often achieved for either pluralists or elitists, because of the c...

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The Difference between Pluralism and Elitism. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:04, August 24, 2017, from
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