Serving The Common Interest
To the extent we believe democracy should fit Lincoln's ideal of "Government of the people, by the people, and for the people", we must not ignore the 'by the people' clause. What has evolved in the United States is not government "by the people", it is a pseudo-democracy governed by the parasitical vested interests that control our nation's political parties.
Nothing in our Constitution expresses or implies the need for political parties. They are an extra-Constitutional invention, devised to advance private interest. In the more than two centuries since our Constitution was adopted, our political system has degenerated, becomming inbred and corrupt. One hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt warned us about "the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics", and Robert Michels described the Iron Rule of Oligarchy:
"It is indisputable that the oligarchical and bureaucratic tendency of party organization is a matter of technical and practical necessity. It is the inevitable product of the very principle of organization ... Its only result is, in fact, to strengthen the rule of the leaders, for it serves to conceal from the mass a danger which really threatens democracy."
To date, we have not heeded that guidance. Instead of a democracy, we have a top-down political system that is incapable of serving the common interest. Constructive resolution of political issues requires, first of all, lawmakers with the ability to recognize the value in the various points of view, from the people's perspective. That is impossible for legislators elected to represent partisan interests.
If we are to serve the common interest, we must devise a bottom-up arrangement of political participation that lets the people decide the issues that concern them and the individuals they want to represent them in their government.
Have we the wit to conceive such a structure?
 Progressive Platform of 1912
 Robert Michels, Political Parties,