The Constitution tried to restrain the abuses of both democracy and central power. This was an incredible task for government and the Constitution, while imperfect, was a supreme test of this organizational theory and structure. Progressivism tried and succeeded in removing many of those restraints, although the trend to greater central power had been consistent since the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation. The solidarity of the union was established by Andrew Jackson and solidified under Lincoln.
The eventual costs of unrestrained social spending were delayed by American commercial dominance after WW II, but that period is long over. Our global competitors have recovered and compete with us not just on business development but on political development that will sustain itself. Political sustainability has become more important than the business sustainability promoted by environmental causes.
The meritocracy of China is a challenge to the popular democracy of the United States. For too many of us the restraints on democracy and the accountability of capitalism have become irrelevant philosophical constructs. Our democracy has descended into self-interested voters voting for both lower taxes and more spending, and our political fools are aware that reality is a useless campaign tool.
As long as partisan bickering and reflexive demagoguery subdue reality and reason we are at risk. You can start in small steps by standing against this nonsense by blocking the 99% of self-serving and misleading social media. Replace your rage with curiosity. Stop the name calling, and demonization of dissent.
We can bitch about the elected ones all day long, but we are responsible for them.