Excerpt from "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" by Robert A. Heinlein. This is Jubal Harshaw explaining the base problem of democracy in our world to Maureen, the heroine of the story.
"the America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a "warm body" democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens... which is opposed by the folly and-lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes for his own self-interest as he sees it... which for the majority translates as "Bread and Circuses".
`"Bread and Circuses" is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, the day marks the beginning of the end of that state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader - the barbarians enter Rome."
I believe that our system may very well be broken beyond repair and that the only place left for America and it's glorious democratic experiment to go is into the history books. Long gone are the days of hope and optimism, and I don't see them returning anytime soon. As long as the overeducated imbeciles with no common sense, and the idiots with too much common sense and no education have the ability to vote - we may be doomed. To what, only time will tell.
Maybe I am being too cynical. We have some bright minds who are able to come up with solutions, and I would rather think that is the case. I believe in the basic goodness of mankind - and I hope rather than going down in flames, the United States of America can become a more perfect union. I guarantee however, that it will never happen under our current system of government.