This is another installment of "big picture ideas", aka political philosophical exploration...
Democratic society, at its fundamental level, works on the basis of automatic self-correction, as do many other systems (evolution, various computerized automatic organization algorithms, neural networks, etc.). The basic idea is that you have some direct input into the results of the system (in the case of democracy, that's voting), and to that extent you somewhat control the outcomes. By observing the outcomes, and evaluating their benefit/harm to yourself, you adjust your inputs in the future, so as to influence the system to produce more beneficial results. These systems work fairly well... with some rather large caveats.
One problem is timing: change is slow, and there can be painful missteps along the way. To compensate, many of these systems allow/encourage biasing the input based on the expectations of results; ie: voting for a politician because of campaign promises, etc. Participants also consider similar previous inputs, based on the supposition that similarity in input qualities will, at least in some cases, carry through to similarities in output events (eg: favoring political parties). These mechanisms can work, but they rely on the accuracy of the information and suppositions, both of which are very tenuous at best in the political work (campaign promises, in particular, are suspect to the point of being well-understood to be laughable). Fortunately, these "input bias" methods don't have to be accurate; as long as the feedback loop works well, eventually the system will produce inputs which lead to beneficial outputs regardless.
This brings us to the larger problem: ensuring the feedback loop works correctly, which is vital to long-term success for the system. To this end, participants need to be able to evaluate the consequences (results) of the actions of the system given their inputs (elected officials), and correlate those consequences to the inputs accurately. This is where there's a huge problem in many democratic societies, and the US in particular. As examples, how many voters would accurately attribute the higher level of perceived inflation than that which is officially reported to Bill Clinton's manipulation of the CPI? The huge unfunded social network liabilities to FDR's establishing of a government-sanctioned pyramid scheme? The housing bubble (at least in part) to the change in tax treatment for capital gains from sales of primary residences? There are many other examples, some obvious and others less clear, but most not well understood.
How, then, are voters to adjust their voting to benefit themselves when they cannot accurately assess the results of previous votes, and correlate them to their own actions? Let me state something, and let it sink in: there are voters in this country who think the health care takeover bill is about providing universal health care for people. Or this: there are voters who think the government needs to be doing more to prop up the housing market. Or even this: we have voters who think the government should be doing more to regulate businesses to help create jobs. Think about how stupid any of those premises are, how bad they would be for the country, and yet how benign they might sounds to the average non-thinking individual, and how even purportedly "smart" people hold some of the beliefs. How can we reasonably expect the feedback loop system to function when we have active participants who are pushing the system in the complete wrong direction?
We need a system whereby the voters can really experience the effects of their efforts in isolation from the people who think differently, and visa-versa. We need a system where the capitalists and the socialists can co-exist, rather than trying to pull one country in two polar opposite directions. We need a system where when the socialist part inevitably collapses under the weight of its inherent failure, it can be removed like the malignant sociological tumor it is, and keep the rest of the host alive (preferably without giving the tumorous cells voting rights in the remaining healthy political organism, so as to not encourage more tumorous growths). We need a system where people can directly experience the correlation of consequences for their own actions, so we can evolve into a better overall society.