William Greider, made the same argument that is being made today about the failures of our American democracy, in 1992. It is still relevant.
Who Will Tell the People? The Betrayal of American Democracy was either prescient or we as a nation have lived in denial for 15 years. Compare the below excerpt with the Jonathan Rauch Atlantic piece.
… As American democracy evolved, multiple balance wheels and self-correcting mechanisms were put in place that encouraged this. They promoted stability, but they also leave space for intervention and new ideas, reform and change.
These self-correcting mechanisms are such familiar features of politics as the running competition for power between the two political parties, the scrutiny by the press and reform critics, the natural tension inherent in the coequal branches of government, the sober monitor imposed by law and the Constitution, the political energies that arise naturally from free people when they organize themselves for collective expression. People are counting on these corrective mechanisms to assert themselves again, as they usually have in the past.
The most troubling proposition of this book is that the self-correcting mechanisms of politics are no longer working. Most of them are still in place and functioning but, for the most part, do not produce the expected results. Some of the mechanisms have disappeared entirely. Some are atrophied or blocked by new circumstances. Some have become so warped and disfigured that they now concretely aggravate the imbalance of power between the many and the few.
That breakdown describes a democratic problem in its bleakest dimensions: instead of a politics that leads the society sooner or later to confront its problems, American politics has developed new ways to hide from them.
The consequences of democratic failure are enormous for the country, not simply because important public matters are neglected, but because America won’t work as a society if the civic faith is lost. …