This course is about the distribution of power in contemporary democratic societies, and especially in the US: who governs? Is there a ``power elite,'' whose preferences dominate public policy making? Or, does policy reflect a wide range of interests? What is the relationship between income and power? What are the political consequences of increasing income inequality? How do income differences across racial and ethnic groups affect the quality of their representation? What are effective remedies for unequal influence? Finally, which institutions move democratic practice furthest towards full democratic equality? This course will address these questions, focusing first on local distributions of power, and then considering the implications of inequality in state and national politics. nStudents will have the opportunity to study income inequality using income and labor force surveys in a mid-term assignment. Then, in a final paper, students will conduct an empirical examination of the implications of income inequality for American democracy.