After the Citizens United decision followed by the next campaign finance decision, I had started to give up on the idea that the US was a democracy anymore. The ability to make unlimited campaign contributions effectively dries up any notion of grass roots efforts. 200 people with various agendas giving you $20 is nonsense compared to one person (and one agenda) giving you $100,000. I just can't see a way around that reality.
Anyway, a depressing study seems to add to this:
Slashdot article on this. What's an Oligarchy?
The clear finding is that the U.S. is an oligarchy, no democratic country, at all. American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it's pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation's "news" media). The U.S., in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious "electoral" "democratic" countries. We weren't formerly, but we clearly are now. Today, after this exhaustive analysis of the data, "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy." (source)