It's a truism that money drives politics and has turned the American democracy into something far different than government of, by and for the people. But an interesting question remains: exactly how badly has the influence of money corrupted the idea of "one person, one vote"?
As one of them thar science-y folks, I can't help but wonder whether there's a way to objectively or quantitatively measure the impact of money on democracy. I'm sure that others can suggest better or more informative ways of doing this, but here's what I'd start with (heavy emphasis on "start")....
1. collect polling results on a range of well-defined topics such as gun control, immigration reform, social security, defense spending, etc., etc., etc. as a function of (a) income, (b) net worth, (c) political donations and (d) personal hands-on political activism. It's an open question whether donations should be broken down by Dem / Rep, etc.
2. compare raw polling results to results normalized for each of the above factors (i.e. the opinion of someone who donates $10k would be weighted 10k times heavier than someone who donates $1, as a very gross simplification).
3. rank issues by mismatch in raw polling data vs. normalized polling data, and compare to how out-of-step Congress' votes are with respect to raw polling data. I'm not positive what the best statistical test would be--experts, please weigh in--but a Wilcoxson rank-sum test might not be a bad "first-pass".
4. if possible, break things down based on individual states and/or Congressional districts since it's always nice to see who's been bought by special interests.
5. if possible, do a similar analysis for state governments. As in (4), it's always nice to know which state governments are easiest to buy.
Again, I'll freely admit that this is far from fully refined. That said, the DKos community has all the tools needed to properly develop this idea at its disposal : Experts who know what they're doing (aka "people smarter and more experienced than me") and the ability to team with PPP to collect exactly this sort of data. On top of that, concerns about the corruption of democracy are most certainly in step with our community's Progressive perspective.