"Bread and circuses" (or bread and games) (from Latin: panem et circenses) is metonymic for a superficial means of appeasement. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered "palliative." Juvenal decried it as a simplistic motivation of common people. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the commoner.
When I look at America in general I see a nation that is imploding, in financial ruin, and become devoid of all morals. Most people are ignorant. They vote blindly for candidates based only on their party affiliation or who gets the most media attention. Many people are bought off by the Party or are rallied based on social issues (abortion, gay marriage, protecting Israel, stopping Socialism, or lowering taxes (mainly for businesses or the rich, or rolling out a new free trade agreement). Then people are constantly watching reality tv shows like Jersey Shore or Teen Mom. There is a constant increase in reality tv that holds up idols saying to people that "you can be just like them." The media, politicians, and schools teach people "anyone can become a millionaire" when the reality is most people won't ever rise the socioeconomic ladder. If it weren't for welfare programs almost 20% of the population would be going hungry and 50% would be in poverty. Many would be rioting and rebelling if they weren't fed and didn't have shelter. It's not in the interest of businesses for so many people to be in absolute poverty because that destroys their profits. It's not in the government's interests to have so many people in absolute poverty because that causes instability. The businesses control the government so they tell the government "you pay off these people regardless of the deficit. we want our profits, you can take on the costs." So the media, controlled by the same businesses put on the circuses while the government throws people the bread. Just enough so they survive and keep them minimally well-off so they don't do anything violent, crazy, or become martyrs to a particular issue. It works to keep most people in America preoccupied with trivial matters and see the government as a symbol of freedom when it's truly oppressive. America is just like Rome before it collapsed. The only difference is that America has the world's reserve currency and we live in a world where fiat currency is the monetary system. If both these elements weren't true then America would have fallen much earlier and likely a revolution would have occurred during the financial crisis. Take those two elements away and the Bread and Circuses stop and revolution begins, just like in the Hunger Games.