Listen to what you're saying, Jim:
"We could convince them if they could look at a picture and have it move their emotions."
See anything there that illuminates the problem?
How likely is it that an emotion-driven electorate that can't read is going to select sound leaders?
The republic has failed, because education has failed. Progressives took over education, and they did what they do to everything they take over.
Our next try at a republic will have to do a better job of protecting the education system, keeping it far out of the hands of progressives.