Oligarchy is governance of very large populations by small elite chambers or congress, elected or otherwise.
Robert Michels postulated an "iron law of oligarchy" stating that all governments, eventually, reduce themselves to oligarchy. This law, at the very least, demonstrates the absolute stubbornness and insidiousness of oligarchy, even in places assumed to be democratic.
Oligarchy is inferior governance to democracy and has several identifying features allowing one to sort out oligarchy influences. Following are four features of oligarchy, in whole, or in part, insidiously destroying democracy in America.
First. oligarchy invariably promotes beyond competence. When things get clearly stupid, wasteful, stubborn, or destructive, suspect oligarchy. (BP, Massey, war, congress, the presidency)
Second, oligarchy emphasizes personality over issue, policy, and governance. During the Roman Empire, it was more important to know the favorite dish of the emperor than to understand governance, issues, and policies. Oligarchies usurp policy, issue, and decision with personality. This leads to self-destruction. Don’t confuse personality with governance.
Third, oligarchy subjectively parses empowerment and leadership to point of dysfunction. (limiting size of congress, sticking with singular presidency) Oligarchies consolidate power by systematically excluding power participation. This often includes a complex system of logic and justification. Any leadership-limiting concept promotes oligarchy. This includes obvious discriminations like, gender, ethnic, economic, religious, and political orientation. It may include more subtle limits, like resume, education, work status, economic status, or disability. When excluded from participation/power, suspect oligarchy. Oligarchy is picky, picky, picky.
Fourth, oligarchy inevitably screws up priorities. (wrong wars, bailouts) Oligarchy consolidation of power usurps the “big picture”. When the “big picture” gets trampled, priorities are wrong, people die, gulfs are poisoned, and lives are destroyed …, suspect oligarchy.
When service in a restaurant suffers, more waiters are required. When fire breaks out everywhere, more fire fighters are required. When crime becomes rampant, more police are required. When democratic power is corrupted, more congresspersons are required. The antidote to corruption of power is disbursement of power. Be proactive. Check out plan-b.
Citizen is coach to team democracy. Coach is responsible for success. It’s your call, coach.
Presidential Candidate (for one of 9 executive branch presidents) 2016