Democracy is a bad idea
At least in the USA.
Tyler and I have a piece up at Slate which highlights the findings that irrelevant local events (like football games) affect peoples' voting behavior.
Beyond the pieces we cite, there is also research by Justin Wolfers showing that voters don't process economic information rationally, and a fun paper by Achen & Bartels showing how shark attacks in New Jersey hurt Woodrow Wilson at the polls.
People, the legitimacy of representative democracy rests in large part on the idea of democratic accountability, and there is a growing literature showing that such accountability is a mirage.
We open our piece with a great Churchill quote: "The best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter".
It's no wonder our political outcomes are often so illogical, frustrating and counter-productive.
We have met the enemy and he is us (apologies to Walt Kelly).