For democracy to work you basically need two things – a common bond and trust that the decision-makers will make the right decisions. Both are hard to define precisely, but there is a good reason to believe that these conditions exist in most western European countries populated by their taxpaying majorities.
It is doubtful that big and complex decisions should be passed over to the ordinary people in referendums, because because the majority of ordinary folk seldom, if ever, understand these questions and their possible long-term consequences.
That is why we have representative government, with all their experts and huge amounts of complex data that they are better able to base such decisions.
That is why we have all the checks and balances on their power to make such decisions, the largest of which is the general election.
But even general elections can be abused by greedy and foolish politicians, and even by aggressive foreign powers through bribery and through broadcasting of lies and grotesque falsehoods in social media. Look how active Russia has been in in attempting to interfere in our democratic processes in many western countries.
In Finland we can see how a small group of politicians have deviously set out to secure 5 ministerial positions that enable the present government to remain in power. This happened when 19 Members of Parliament representing the True Finns Party, mutineered from their party to establish a new party called the Blue Future. The True Finns had some 10% of the popular vote before the mutiny and they still do many months afterwards, with the Blue Future enjoying a bare 1% of the popular vote! If there was a new election today only one MP from the Blue Future would be elected, with the remaining 18 out of a job. This situation has already lasted too long and has damaged the credibility of the 2 big parties that rely on the Blue Future for a majority in Parliament, as well as the credibility of politicians in general.