“Where the system fouls up is when the lobbyists who gain access to legislators, as a group, badly reflect the interests of the citizenry.”
So not only does the legislature have to be a balanced representative section of society (which I agree with) but anyone trying to influence policy has to be a balanced representative section too? But then why would they need to lobby in the first place?
Who or what decides what “the interests of the citizenry” is? Sheer majority? Our Constitution rejects the idea that the majority will is absolute, for good reason. The debtors outnumber the creditors, and vote themselves out of debt (see post-Revolution Massachusetts). The Christians outnumber the non-Christians, and vote Christianity the official religion, banning all others. Not that any of this happens, of course, but just examples of how a pure adherence to “vox populi, vox dei” doesn’t work.
In a diverse nation, where any one person may be with the majority on some issues and the minority on others (I doubt anyone holds the majority position on everything), policy results from the interplay of various interests. Employers and labor, creditors and debtors, etcetera, each lobby for legislation to be shaped the way they want it. In most cases, no faction in any of these debates has the angels entirely on their side; one side isn’t the defenders of goodness and light while the other side are the “special interest”; BOTH are each looking out for their own respective interest. The best policy for society would be a mix or balance of the positions of the various factions, but such a mix cannot result when one or more of the factions is kept from the table on the grounds that they are a “special interest” and therefore “badly reflect the interests of the citizenry”.
To give an example, think of a proposed labor relations bill. If employers got all they wanted, all that was in their best interest, every worker would be at their desk 12 hours a day six days a week for $5/hour. If labor got all that it wanted, all that was in its best interests, they would work 6 hours a day, four days a week, at $25/hour. What is best for society as a whole is clearly somewhere inbetween. But if we’re exclusing “special interests” that “badly reflect the interests of the citizenry” from the debating table, what results? Should the employers be excluded as a “special interest” because they are in the minority?