Dave, I reviewed your TDG concept. The Polish saying would be that you try to invent America again. It appears that you have a good understanding of democracy. My take on our problems is in identifying what changed since times when, despite imperfect, America was great the first time around.
You are right in looking for more involvement of citizens, even if it is just 1% of them. Better understanding of politic is the key.
Please check my idea of how to do it: www.virtualagora.net.