To understand politics properly, take care to notice that

politics is about getting and keeping political power. It is not about the general welfare of “We, the people.” When addressing politics, we must accustom ourselves to think and speak about the actions and interests of specific, named leaders rather than thinking and talking about fuzzy ideas like the national interest, the common good, and the general welfare. Once we think about what helps leaders come to and stay in power, we will also begin to see how to fix politics. Politics, like all of life, is about individuals, each motivated to do what is good for them, not what is good for others.

THE DICTATOR’S HANDBOOK: WHY BAD BEHAVIOR IS ALMOST ALWAYS GOOD POLITICS, by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Alastair Smith.