Americans need to face the fact that our country is no longer a representative democracy, let alone its beacon.

Princeton University research recently showed that a federal bill has about 30 percent chance of passing even if it has little or no support, or full support, for that matters from the American public. It's alarming to recognize that citizens have so little clout when it comes to influencing policy. The real power lies with powerful corporations and especially with superrich campaign donors. It is their wishes that get reflected in legislation.

The current GOP tax bill is a perfect case in point. It passed even though it will do the very opposite of the GOP talking points and even though it is not supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Our institutionalized corruption is also why we are the only industrialized democracy that has neither effective gun control nor universal health care, even though vast majority of Americans favors implementing them.

Lanlan Hoo