You are correct, in that it is not simple. However, I have two personal experiences that shed light here.
Follow the Big Money.
For awhile I worked in the Capitol in Sacramento in the office of the second most powerful person at the time, Assembly Speaker John Vasconcellos. I was his gatekeeper among other things. During this time a lobbyist with client in tow attempted to walk right into John’s office without an appointment or even checking in with me. This despite the obvious long line of constituents already waiting their turn. What was especially galling was that the lobbyist was a former assembly member and well aware of protocol.
They ignored my verbal warning and I was forced to physically stop the lobbyist with my palm pushing the middle of his chest shoving against him. I whispered to him that I would call security and have them both arrested if they did not sit down. I directed them to the end of the line and they sat down quietly speaking to each other.
As I attempt to see if I could work them into John’s schedule. As I did I glanced up and they were gone.
Then suddenly I heard John’s booming voice, sounding quite surprised as he greeted someone.
Peering around the edge of the door I saw the two I had just admonished standing before him and John giving me the eye as if to say “WTF!”
It turns out that the lobbyist and former assemblyman, was so familiar with the Capitol that he knew of an unmarked back door to John’s office that I was not aware of.
At lunch I asked other staffers if this had ever happened to them and received several heads shaking yes with one lady saying, “Just do the best you can.”
What kills me is the entitled attitude. For obviously lobbyists who have worked on the floor with current members and who funnel money to their reelection coffers do get special treatment and action on what they are pushing. While the average constituent waits in line for a possible tone deaf ear.
The second incident involved congressman Ami Bera. Having learned my lesson in John Vasconcellos office, later in life when contributing politicians I give more than average as I want access.
Consequently, I did so with Ami Bera and as a result, he returned my phone calls personally. On the occasion of his reelection for what I believe was his second term, the Republicans attempted to pass a Frankenstein Bill composed of a combination of several failed attempts from the previous congress to whittle away at Dodd-Frank. They arranged the vote to take place immediately after the swearing in of the new congress which meant that there were several congressmen who were rookies voting on the bill. There was no debate. They just gaveled open the session and voted with a significant number having no clue as to what it was they were voting on, including Omi Bera, who admitted so to me during our conversation as I quizzed him about what parts of the bill he found to be worthy of his vote.
He flat out said he had no idea what it was about and that his advisor told him how he was to vote. That advisor was his rainmaker in chief.
Given that the bill was narrowly defeated I told Bera what the bill was about and that if he wanted to know more about it I could have someone meet with him in his DC office to do so and gave him a phone number.
Consequently he said that would not be necessary as he felt he knew enough and assured me he would vote “No” during the next vote.
So what did he do? He voted “Yes”.
Therefore, in my humble opinion, the major problem with government is the Oligarchy.
In regard to this, there is a loophole in campaign finance law than needs to go but will be exceedingly difficult to kill. This involves “Committee to Reelect” campaign contributions that politicians control. Have you ever wondered what happens to that money when they leave office?
It turns out that the ex politico immediately forms a nonprofit foundation which they then become king of and pay themselves nicely to run. This happens everywhere in the USA.
Because it is nonprofit they can accept donations and contribute to political activity and do.
Isn’t that nice?
So we must kill “Citizens United” and that loophole. Until then we will keep getting crappy government.