I’ve heard it told numerous times that when FDR did the New Deal, it wasn’t because he particularly wanted to. He just felt as if he had to. The story goes that he told his fellow rich elites “Look, the people have been in this Depression for so long that they’re just about ready to revolt. So we have a choice: either give them something to placate them, or give them nothing and watch as they rise up against us and take everything we have by force.”
TL:DR we are governed, Team R and Team D, by sociopaths.
Sociopaths have no empathy, and they therefore learn only from reward and punishment. But they do learn.