What's funny about American politics, as someone who is now viewing things from a comfortable distance, is the shared sense that nothing drastic can actually be done anymore...that the way things are is pretty much the way things have to be. And yet we still expect that, somehow, meaningful change is possible...that compromises can be found so that nobody is harmed!
This isn't the case elsewhere in the world, where drastic change is not only possible, but is the norm. Two related but different ideas are at the root of this phenomenon: 1) American nationalism, and 2) the dogma of corporate supremacy.
American nationalism tells us that America is the best, by default. Why is it the best? Because it is America and America is the best. See the (circular) logic? So everything that is in a given point in history is just as it should be because that's the way it is in America, and since that's the way it is in America then that's the way it should be.
The problem of corporate supremacy is a bit more interesting. Any mildly ambitious idea is simply considered impossible. And why? What has emerged is a kind of common knowledge that nothing can be done that might conceivably harm a large corporation! Take the example of single-payer health care -- the only party harmed in such a system would be the insurance companies. So what? A few insurance companies lose a source of revenue, their stock suffers, investors lose some money, but the greater good is that those same investors have guaranteed health care...that their health care is no longer tied to employment status. Yet there aren't more than a handful of American politicians willing to touch this idea, and none will (as they rightfully should) shrug their shoulders at the idea of screwing over a few insurance companies in favor of meaningful reform.
If we are not willing to harm the bottom line of powerful corporations for some greater good, true change and true reform simply is out of the question.
Nationalism and the dogma of corporate supremacy need to be attacked directly. Politicians and voters need to stop pretending that any meaningful change can come from such a status quo.