(ed. a propos to the national mid-term elections next week this summary of a much longer article puts into perspective the miserable facts of life American politics evidences...)
Concentrated Wealth and the Purchase of Political Power: Democracy's Death Spiral
Democracy's Death Spiral is a positive feedback loop between ever-greater concentrations of wealth and the ever-higher costs of retaining political power.Positive feedback loops lead to "death spirals" in which destructive forces reinforce each other until the dynamic implodes.One example is an "arms race" in which ever more costly and complex weapons systems must be matched lest one nation in the race fall behind.Since the number of weapons and their cost are essentially unlimited, then the race continues until one contestant is bankrupted.
In the U.S., the ever-greater concentrations of wealth gathered by an ascendant Financial Power Elite has entered a positive feedback loop with the costs of gaining or retaining political power. The costs of winning an election have skyrocketed to the point that fundraising is the key function of any politico who is not independently extremely wealthy.
This quantum leap up in the costs of gaining or retaining power has forced politicos to curry the favors of those few Elite groups which can give them millions of dollars.Potential rivals understand that victory against this well-funded incumbent, no matter how incompetent, will require $15 million.
The only sources of that amount of cash are other Financial Power Elites and State-funded fiefdoms like teachers unions, and so each candidate sells their soul to the few "special interests" with deep enough pockets to harvest and contribute millions of dollars -Charles Hugh Smith