All representative democracies have their own political swamps. Swamps exist at the national, state-province, and local level. The Swamp became famous because of The Swamp in Washington.
For most people, The Swamp includes the Executive, the Legislative, many career bureaucrats, and all the lobbyists around all of them. But I also include the judiciary, because the Judiciary is also an entrenched power with huge clout over American politics, and it should not have that power.
The Swamp is not a right-wing or left-wing phenomenon, it is a systemic illness.
Ordinary citizens dislike The Swamp. They dislike it because they sense, correctly, that The Swamp runs the country, but not for them.
The way representative democracies work, it is almost inevitable for them not to develop some version of The Swamp; the Swamp is a natural consequence of representative democracy.
The reason is simple; representative democracy gives all the executive power to the elected executive, to the elected legislator, and also to the judges.
The political parties can not drain the Swamp because being part of it brings them many benefits.
For example, passing a law or issuing an order that, rises or lowers tariffs, benefits one lobby or another. The lobbies who benefit are likely to help politicians at election time with big economic donations to their campaigns, with political ads, articles, books, favourable editorials and so on.
The lobbies need the politicians in the executive, and the legislative, and the politicians need the lobbies. It is a symbiotic relationship.
The fights we see in representative democracies, such as the United States, between the parties, are fights for power. What is important to them is to win the election to have the power the other side now has. No party ever campaigns to diminish the power of politicians.
In representative democracies, there are “checks and balances” to prevent that the executive, the legislative or the judiciary prevail over the other two, but the checks and balances in representative democracies do not check or balance the overall power of government over the citizens.
The newly elected government may dismantle the program of the preceding government, only to bring their own, perhaps even more controlling program. They never reduce government power (over ordinary citizens).
Regarding the judges, we have the situation in representative democracies where non-elected judges make political decisions.
But is even worse, the judiciary is accumulating so much power that often we have “government by the judges.”
In a representative democracy, the voters have zero, nada, power in-between elections, but in a direct democracy, the voters are the final decision-makers on any issue the voters decide they should be the final decision-makers; public expenses, big projects, treaties, taxes, military expenses, education, health care, etc., are some examples.
When the key decision-makers are the voters, the lobbies and other interest groups soon learn that it makes no sense to spend millions on politicians who have no power to help them.
As the lobbies spend less money in The Swamp, The Swamp drains, and many of its “creatures” leave it.
The key problem people have to overcome to bring direct democracy is the resistance of the politicians.
Direct democracy came to Switzerland, the only country with a long history of direct democracy, at all levels and branches of government, when the Swiss realized that the people, in an open, orderly manner, make better decisions than the politicians. But that realisation was not enough; they had to pressure and pressure the politicians to give up most of their power, they succeeded in 1798.
They were right; Switzerland is the most democratic, most stable, and best functioning country in the World.
Direct democracy also produced in Switzerland a political climate that is far less polarized than in representative democracies. In Switzerland, the major parties, who represent 70-80% of the electorate, govern in coalition; there is no “loyal” opposition in Switzerland because it makes no sense to have it.
In Switzerland, the judges are also kept in check; they can not rule if laws are or not constitutional. Swiss judges can not make decisions that cancel the decisions the people make via referendums either.
Direct democracy really is “government by the people”, nothing else is necessary.
If you want your country not to have a Swamp, you will have to mobilize, like the Swiss did.