The Masses are the Ruling Classes proposes the radical, yet seemingly innocuous view that social policy in the United States is determined by mass consent. Contemporary explanations of decision making in the US typically attribute power over policy making to a variety of hidden forces andillegitimate elites holding the masses innocent of their own problems. Yet the enormous openness of the society and near-universal suffrage sustain democratic consent as more plausible than the alternatives - conspiracy, propaganda, usurpation, autonomous government, and imperfect pluralism.Contrary to prevailing explanations, government is not either autonomous or out of control, business and wealthy individuals have not usurped control of the nation, large segments of the population are not dispossessed of the vote or of a voice in public affairs, and the media has not formed aconspiracy with Hollywood and liberals to deny Americans their God-given freedoms. Despite the multitude of problems that the nation faces, its citizens are not oppressed. In this pithy yet provocative book, Epstein argues that Democracy in the United States is not progressive but is instead populist, and that the core of the populist ideology is romantic rather than pragmatic.