… is from pages 283-284 of the 1997 Johns Hopkins University Press edition of H.L. Mencken’s indispensable 1956 collection, Minority Report :
According to American theory, all power is in the hands of the plain people, and according to American legend they always exercise it wisely. The theory, of course, is almost as absurd as the legend. The plain people, in fact, can only exert their power through agents, and in the election of those agents they seldom face a clear choice between a good candidate and a bad one, or a wise idea and a foolish one. In the normal case both candidates are frauds and both ideas are idiotic.