Robert Draper of The New York Times published a piece on Republicans who say this in August. He cited a GOP candidate for the Arizona state legislature, Selina Bliss, saying: "We are not a democracy. Nowhere in the Constitution does it use the word 'democracy.' I think of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That's not us."
But a democratic republic is us. Exactly.
Throughout our history we have functioned as both. Put another way, we have utilized characteristics of both. The people decide, but they do so through elected representatives working in pre-established, rule-bound and intentionally balky institutions such as Congress and the courts.
The government seated in Washington, D.C., represents a democratic republic, which governs a federated union of states, each of which in turn has its own democratic-republican government for its jurisdiction.
The relationship between the democratic and republican elements of this equation has been a dynamic and essential part of our history. But it has not always been easy, and in our time the friction between them has become yet another flashpoint in our partisan wars.