Representative democracy is vulnerable to become a dictatorship. We know it because it has happened more than once.
The major reason a representative democracy can collapse into a dictatorship is obvious; the politicians have too much power. Because of that, in a crisis the elected representatives in the parliament of representative democracy can be tempted, or intimidated, into giving power to a “strongman”; they have done it.
The root weakness is that representative democracy is not government by the people; it is government by those elected by the people. The people only have the power to elect politicians. Once elected, politicians have all the power to do, legally (because they make the laws), anything they want, including giving all power to a “strongman”, with terrible results.
But you probably heard that representative democracy has “checks and balances” to prevent such things. Unfortunately, the “checks and balances” are checks and balances of politicians by politicians; they do not include checks and balances of the politicians by the people.
Anyway, the checks and balances of politicians by politicians do not work very well. For example, it often happens in a representative democracy that the same party controls the executive and the legislative. In such situation, where are the “checks and balances?”
In presidential systems, like the US, there is more separation of power between the executive and the legislative.
Unfortunately, the political fights for power in the US, and in other representative democracies, are so vicious that the “checks and balances” are just the continuation of the relentless fight to win elections, they are not real checks and balances.
In representative democracies, the primary aim of the parties is not the common good, the good of the country, but to win the next election; the system pushes them in that direction. Winning is their obsession.
The politicians will never admit to that; they always wrap their true aim of winning in carefully develop words about; “justice”, “jobs”, “freedom”, “taking care of the vulnerable”, “progress”, “the future of our children” and so on, but the goal is always the same; discredit rival politicians to win elections.
We still have the judiciary as the “third leg” of the “checks and balances”. Unfortunately, the politicians select and appoint the judges to the highest court of the land. It is obvious then that the highest courts are politicized; not a good way to have objective checks and balances.
It is evident the checks and balances among the three powers by the three powers are weak or non-existent, but there is a much bigger problem; in a representative democracy, the voters have no mechanism to check the power of the three powers, THIS IS the real problem.
Representative democracies create the absurd situation that the government, supposedly “of the people, by the people, for the people”, the people have no executive and legislative power; no way to control what those elected do.
All the power in the hands of the elected representatives means that in a crisis, the legislatures can give the executive unlimited powers.
That is exactly what happened in Germany. Before Hitler, Germany was a representative democracy until the legislature gave him total power.
If you want to understand how Germany’s representative democracy ended up in Hitler’s dictatorship, click here
If the German people had direct democracy, no demagogue would have intimidated the people into giving him absolute power.
In a direct democracy, the people are used to voting to decide issues, not just vote to elect politicians. Because of that, voters in a direct democracy know they are responsible for the fate of their country; they do not fall for the grandiose delusional promises of would-be dictators or party demagogues.
It is time for direct democracy, to make real: “government of the people, by the people, for the people”, once and for all, and prevent the loss of democracy in a crisis.
Because the people make the final decisions, a direct democracy is more democratic and more stable than representative democracy.
What are you going to do to bring it to your country?
To learn about direct democracy, I suggest you study Switzerland’s direct democracy. It is easy; just enter in your computer or phone: “Direct democracy in Switzerland”.