Straight from Wikipedia, no comment or elaboration needed: “In a political sense, bread and circuses (or bread and games, from Latin phrase panem et circenses) alludes to a superficial means of appeasement. It alludes to the generating of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion and distraction, or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered ‘palliative’.
“The term’s originator, the poet Juvenal, used the phrase to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the commoners.
“Panem et circenses identifies the only remaining cares of a Roman populace which no longer cares for its historical birthright of political involvement. It alludes to Roman politicians having passed laws in 140 B.C. to retain the votes of poorer citizens by introducing a grain dole: giving out free wheat and entertainment, ‘bread and circuses’, became the most effective way to rise to power.”