As the vanguard of Democratic ideals is best expressed in terms of America's successful experiment; Democracy is oft confused for its actual Constitutional Republic form of governance. Believe this aspirational question reduces scope of inquiry and is intellectually tethered to American based pursuits of the public interest.
"Democracy: a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives." Google Search Engine
In contemporary political theory, central core tenets of Democracy were well rooted in the world prior to The American Revolution. Given the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs emphasis in keeping a global perspective, the purpose of my effort here is to focus on attainable good versus establishing lesser varieties of Democracy pursuing a holy grail of self representation.
Mine is a pragmatic endeavor for universal consumption. A simple empirical construct that maximizes beneficial outcomes with value laden purpose.
Predating Jeffersonian ideals of governance we arrive at the concept of Utilitarianism born of English thinkers in the 18th century (IE Jeremy Bentham and later J.S. Mill). Simply put Utilitarianism is a system of moral political philosophy that asserts and requires a normative ethical theory to maximize the overall good. ~ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. And to that end, ethical behavior is what Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs espouses.
Democracy is too messy, complex and rigorous for a modern entity to adopt its fundamental principles onto a millennia of culture whereas Utilitarianism inherently demeans and suppresses corrupt policy practices in and of itself. Be led but not blindly.
This is what is missing in America and elsewhere is the ability to forge and galvanize greatest good public policy serving the greatest number of the population (IE Education, Health Care, Infrastructure and Environment) as opposed to self serving, myopic and corrosive political machinations now in play throughout the world. Be it "less government spending", "universal health care for all", austere or liberal fiscal management style, "more equality" or acute "nativism", all of which have countervailing institutional influences that mitigates "intended" policy purpose.
Is sound public policy a function of patriarchal "Unified Government" or is good governance the stronger, concrete societal force? Our dialogue today should hone a laser like focus on long term solutions for general weal not dictate nor impose a particular belief system de jour which serves only vested interests and an ardent political bent in the short term. Thus the operational leadership pendulum swings ever more erratic. Democracy if properly enacted with solid public institutions can withstand and endure extreme mindsets but America is the exception not the rule.
This is the esteemed virtue of Utilitarianism insuring that its hallowed objective serves the greatest number of citizens with its forward thinking benevolent guidance. Utilitarianism is the one political theory that promotes and advances the foundational precept of Democracy.
A notion that in and of itself actualizes the raison d' etre of Democracy. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute.