It's a very powerful illusion to placate the masses by tricking us into thinking that our voices are being heard and we are participating in a democracy.
An excerpt from Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States":
> We have here a forecast of the long history of America politics, the mobilization of lower-class energy by upper-class politicians, for their own purposes. This was not purely deciption; it involved, in part, a genuine recognition of lower-class grievances, which helps to account for its effectiveness as a tactic over the centuries.
^^ This was in the lead-up to the American revolution where the upper-class needed to gain support from the lower-classes. The wealthy colonists were able to redirect the lower-class's ire from wealthy colonists to the British. One way of gaining support was allowing some lower-classes to participate in politics or give some of them land. However, the concessions given to the lower classes by the upper classes never materially change the power dynamics.
A contemporary example of this is the response by politicians to the George Floyd Protests. Most politicians aren't entertaining the significant demands of the protesters. Instead, politicians try to placate the masses (and it's effective) by offering concessions that don't really change the root the power dynamics that have led to the protests: e.g. remove statues, changing names of streets to BLM, "8 can't wait" policies, etc.