Politically speaking: democracy is a feebly construed plutocracy orchestrated under a thin guise of demagoguery that passes the most obtuse technical definitions of "democracy", which has been devalued in practice with systematic and large-scale control from now institutionalized group-think, that has been in place in the western culture even since the first total-war experience and its legacy of propaganda from the early part of the last century. Noam Chomsky, an avid commentator of the many ways democracy just shifts the hegemony of the ruling elites onto the task of 'opinion control', reflects on the institutional fabric of how the current conditions perpetuate themselves in languid monotony (perhaps why Public Schooling can essentially never do what education promises to be... ).
If you consider Democracy to be devoid of any tangible access for any kind of choice over economic policy, then (in terms of a secular state), National politics simply boils down to appointing those 'representatives' who get to compete to be the ones to sacrifice the long term interests of the state's integrity for the short and medium term success of local economic power, so that they can keep competitive against foreign economic centers, fueled by their own [potentially more] permissive political climates, and so everyone's National debt get expanded, while the financial world is too scared to pull the pin as no-one wants to know what it looks like when the house of cards comes down. All the while, any attempt to break away from this style of capitalism is policed by secret assassinations and false flag policies, covertly put in place by the big boys (the latest Mission Impossible movie, is in no way premised in a fiction). But after 30 years we get to hear all about a lot of their operations: when most of the CIA documents get declassified;- Osama Bin laden was an American funded terrorist first (against the Russians in Afghanistan, before they were abandoned when the USSR fell), Sadam Hussein was backed to take over the ruling party of Iraq because he was a capitalist-friendly thug capable of taking out all the left-leaning elements in the Iraqi ruling party. "The Revolution will not be televised" (is a documentary where the CIA funded coup is caught in the act with its elaborate mass-media smokescreen tactics to seize control using privately owned Television to usurp true democratic integrity). Imperialism is on average, no where close to being on the side of democratic values, and although superficially some small amount of American Imperialism was done in the name of democratic values, it is clear that democracy is just used as part of the total-culture-propaganda matrix to keep plutocratic power structures unmoved, even as the costs of orchestrating those controls threatens to degrade the long terms prospects of any sustainable flourishing situation for a continuity of some 'meaning of life';- which must be similarly scoffed at to cover over the "institutional imperatives" of the reactionary power-system (which is in the whole of recent history been exuding the full brunt of that 'reactionary' term, as illustrated by Chomsky's Vietnam assessment, that is an ongoing and replayed drama requiring Global Capital to undermine the populist movement for independent national development that don't profit elite investment sector, keeping the world under the thumb of this Mafia styled, petty-greed fueled bullying that destabilizes and diminishes humanity, just to serve a game of relative dominance, at the cost of all else).
There are other more far reaching and subtle parts to the crisis of the decline... Luigi Zoja's book on the limits of growth probably illustrate vast cultural decadence's in the social cultural regression; which is perhaps even evidenced more palpably from the looming specters of right-wing extremism represented far and wide.
Personally I believe from a Marxist perspective, informed by more of a psychological approach, it's clear that these are the natural end times for the Nation state as a political unit. The nation state is the seat and the sole source to managing Public-dangers, and so when Libertarian values have been so consistently tarnished by the plutocratic mangling of a bloated Public sphere (because without a large Public sphere there is nothing to garner and subvert from), the natural inclination shifts towards wanting to project an immediate sense of family onto the political unit (Fatherland), because the non-racial values are too introverted to contend against the styles of hysterical propaganda. So in conclusion, even the Nation State needs be abandoned for a more provincial and localized political unit, or great fascist factions will probably emerge as history attempts to replay itself after the earlier example, the Nation state requires a too unwieldy abstract relationship to the individual without being governed by socialist ideology, it will naturally be used as the feeding grounds of paranoia-bred populism. I myself would choose a new deal society over a paranoia feuded cultural ethos that's based on a fudged world view that can only progress within the bounds of its heavily mangled stasis (and the philosophical control inherent in those kinds of societies). Aristotle was right all along, a somewhat democratic Republic is the best we can do, and the elites can only avoid the tyranny of the general electorate by subjecting themselves and society to ensuring a fair access to basic human wellfare guarantees and opportunities.
Much of the above is informed by the words of Luigi Zoja.