One of the most fulfilling aspects of any election in a democratic system is when 'right issues' which affect people's life surface in political debates and voting generally happens for those issues. Politics in a democratic system is broken when the debate is so distorted that such 'core issues' do not surface correctly.
Few lament about Polarization of American System and call that as the reason for broken politics. I would say, polarization per say is only one aspect. Otherwise also 'parliamentary politics' works in rest of the world where job of Opposition is simply to oppose and criticize the government and in the process to surface 'flaws' of the government. What is broken in USA Politics is failure to whip up issues which impact our lives. ObamaCare is no perfect, but while enjoying all its fruits to keep criticizing it on hustings and deceiving Republican Base that ObamaCare can be repealed without putting any alternative; how is that supposed to help us? Worse is such politicians are simply not required to pay any electoral price at all. They pay electoral price in their primaries when they do not do such demagoguery!
When Americans needed government stimulated demand in recession, they were all hoodwinked in bothering about deficit by comparing what a family does in recession. (State needs to do opposite of that.) When 'deficit' is not an issue any more, hypothetical 'job killing regulations of Obama' becomes an issue. Where are the competing proposals from GOP to spread job gains? Again and again GOP advocates failed policy of 'giving more tax cuts to rich while kicking down poor'? If Government becomes a problem, put ideas to make it work. You do not throw out the baby with the bath water. It seems as if American Politics has completely lost any ability to discuss issues which impact Americans most. No wonder a dad who tragically lost his son in yet another gun carnage berates Congress while 'climate deniers' go on their merry trips when local officials scramble to deal with rising sea levels.
Europe has joined America in this broken politics. First, it devises EU contraption such that nations loose their ability to print its currency. (ECB chief Draghi adopted the Bernanke medicine late, by then substantial damage was done. In Sweden where policy makers pulled the punch bowl early, Krugman points how those policy makers created non-existent problems props up.) Any substantive stimulus got clamped down by the German fear of 'money transfer' within the Union. What have European voters done then? Instead of voting politicians who would try to address these problems, it elected xenophobic politicians who want to break the entire EU project and stop the immigration which otherwise would be supplying fresh talent to economies which need all these fresh productive consumers.
And while we are at Anglo-Saxon world, one can see how Paul Ryanization of Australia is essentially ruining its social fabric.
Clearly democratic polities in West are not working.