I think that's also the one thing that's hard for the fans at large to understand. If you went to the Senate and told them... "Oh, hey, Palpatine's a Sith" when he gets elected, most of the Senate would say, "Oh, uh huh. Okay. What does that mean for us? ... He seems to be doing a good job. The trains are running on time."
Of course there are no Jedi in our politics, are there?