I was hoping that I at least hinted towards that in the article. Iran is a flawed democracy because candidates go through a selection process that ultimately answers to the Supreme Leader; the US is similarly flawed but the selection process is more implicit and done by capital. Even the ballot initiative/referendum process I mentioned takes a lot of resources to pull off. I actually worked for a minimum wage initiative that ended up passing and I must say it must have cost them some money.
That being said, I still want to argue that there are shades of democracy and I'm in favor of pushing the sliding scale towards more of it. The United States is clearly more democratic (to my knowledge anyway) than Iran, and ballot initiatives/referenda are still more democratic. I think that abolishing the primary system is pretty clearly a move towards more oligarchic control, and a pretty major one at that given how limited our choice is in our representative system in the first place.