American elections have long been fueled by corporate money.
Unlike the United States' extensive record of undercutting (and, in many cases, utterly destroying) democracy overseas, subversion of the democratic process at home takes a more subtle form — a silent coup, a thorough gutting of the process over a period of decades.
Another page of truth in your growing notebook Jake. And here you're only talking about "elected" power-brokers. This does not even address the more sinister and destructive (appointed and self-appointed) personages of say, Clapper, Ash, Petraeus, etc., ad infinitum.
If democracy still worked here, then after the 2006 mid-terms all the troops would have been withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq and a REAL investigation into the false premises of those military actions (crimes) would have been undertaken and a whole herd of neocons put in prison, because that election was a referendum on the Iraq war and the entire country repudiated the GOP majorities in the Congress. AND NOTHING CHANGED - "Impeachment is off the table." And the new boss continued the "good war" just like the old boss, and sat on his peace medal while the deep state opened up a few more theatres of conflict. Of course, if democracy had been working sanely earlier our elected reps might not have done their lemming dive off of the AUMF.
Who here truly does not believe that a solid, consistent majority of citizens favor the end of American militarism and adventurism? Yes, there is a sizable minority that is still gung-ho, but I believe the majority would see it otherwise.
Democracy: the unknown ideal. Failed exactly along that weakness pointed to so many times since it was first conceived. Captured by wealth and power, and serving only that. Like Jake says, we are much closer to the culmination than we are to the beginning of the threat. The study by Gilens, et al statistically proves this. The trade deals prove this; they are the coup de grace of democratic governance - worldwide.
Sanders and Warren should indeed be speaking in the present, not future tense when characterizing oligarchy.
By the time most Murkins recognize that Murka is an oligarchy (if most EVER do) the oligarchy phase will be on the cusp of neofeudalism, beyond oligarchy's "culmination".
You will know neofeudalism is on the horizon when nearly all industries are monopolized and the 1% own nearly everything and the 99% own very little.
There is such a thing as democratic corporatism. Its called a coop.
How do we fight the oligarchy? We can't rise up and take arms because (fill in the blanks). We can't out bribe their politicians. Our demonstrations are ignored in the MSM. We get a faceful of mace or get on no fly lists when the oligarchy's facial recognition software sees us organizing and protesting. What to do?
History shows that it will happen in the streets or it won't happen. Sad as that is.
DAPL is a good example.
I'm a boomer and I don't remember ever not being afraid of the government. We even ducked under our desks for drills on air raids/nuclear bombs. Terrified.
What we are seeing today is the pretense is falling. Even with HRC the show isn't as shinny as it used to be and her attempts at it are half hearted.
It must be all in place cause they sure aren't hiding it well.
If it happens and the people don't change the oligarchy's system of representative government, nothing can change.
Jimmy Carter referred to the US political system last year ( July, 2015 ) as "an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery". He knows what he's talking about, and this is not news to anyone capable of thought. But politicians continue to talk about our "democracy" and the presstitutes, to use Paul Craig Roberts' term for the media, are so upset, even to the point of feigning outrage, that Trump should questions the validity of our precious elections. We're told by Hillary Clinton that Putin is hacking our elections and wants to undermine American confidence in the system. He's so evil and insidious! The American people are lost in a sea of bullshit.
Leaders of the US intelligentsia, such as Ari Berman, don't know what they're talking about when they claim that it's very difficult to perpetrate voter fraud and that voter suppression is the real problem. Apparently he knows nothing about computerized voting. He knows nothing about voting machines, the software used, the process, and he hasn't taken the time to educate himself, and read CODE RED, by Jonathan Simon, for example. Voter fraud is actually quite easy in the black box voting system, the faith based voting system we have in this country.
Our elections are not legitimate samplings of the will of the American people. They are fraudulent. If it is not possible to recount election results, the election is not legitimate. In the days of paper ballots, a recount was possible. Issues of voter suppression could be addressed, which was the point of the Voting Rights Act. Fraudulent redistricting could be exposed. An election carried out by computers can be hacked and manipulated leaving no evidence of hacking. This is the basis for the quote attributed to Josef Stalin to the effect that voting doesn't matter, it's the counting of votes that matters.
The true believer will say: voting machines usually have paper trails today, so there's a record of each vote. True enough, but the software can stipulate two vote tallies: one for the paper receipts, another tally to be sent off into cyberspace, call it tally land, where the results of the national election can be determined by software such as GEMS (Global Election Management Systems) that can manipulate the count to the desired result.
US elections are fraudulent because the two party system suppresses the selection of candidates, creating mini "dynasties" of the crime families involved, and because computer voting is easily hacked. And beyond the political system is the so-called "press", the so-called Fourth Estate, owned by the corporate oligarchs, that does not mention computer vote fraud, just like you don't, Mr. Johnson.
I wrote in the Green Party in my state. I voted my values.
It has always just blown me away that even after the 2000 election, and all it revealed about what can go wrong with voting machines, poorly or strategically designed ballots, and electronic software driven voting machines. Evidence surfaced then about Black Box voting and the fraud that can go on without the voter realizing or being able to rectify it.
I have always lived in places that still use paper ballots and a No. 2 pencil, never have used even a mechanical voting machine (no hanging chad).
Wherever one stands on who to vote for, or against...and even if THEY just throw out the votes and tell Brian Williams and Steve Kornake what numbers to tell us...still actually casting ones vote seems importantly symbolic as an act of defiance if nothing else.
JFK said the same thing when he said: " those that make peaceful revolution impossible; make violent revolution inevitable".