If you have a direct democracy, then 51 percent could vote to kill the 49 percent and it would be legally enacted. Our republic was set up to have a constitution to protect us from direct democracy. Congress was to represent the people, the senate was to represent the states. The president was to execute the laws passed by the combined houses of congress, the courts where to adjudicate those laws. The constitution was to set limits on the government, and allow maximum individual liberty for the people who where citizens of the country. Sadly, this is no longer how our government operates.
Yes, I do indeed believe that direct elections are the ultimate expression of the democratic process. Direct democracy (all of us voting on all measures, all the time) is just impractical, so we need representatives to do that work for us. Under this system with elections, we effectively manage our democratic societies.
Direct elections mean one vote is equal to the others. When members of the House of Representatives and the Senate are elected, a direct tally is used to determine the winners. A presidential election doesn't work this way. One vote in Hawaii isn't as equal as one vote in California because each state has different electoral votes. Imagine if Americans got to vote directly on legislation in Congress and passed new laws? Things might get done faster without the bureaucratic red tape and filibustered debates. Directly choosing something in a simple majority is the ultimate express of a democracy and is the actual definition of a democracy where everyone gets a vote. America doesn't have a democracy, we have a republic.
Yes direct elections are the ultimate expression of the democratic process. This is because the people then have a say in who gets elected and who doesn't. Allow it is not perfect, it is the best use of the democratic process. Those who are elected can then make the changes the people want.
Yes, direct elections are the ultimate expression of the democratic process. The essential notion of the democratic process is one in which every citizen has a vote and those votes are used to determine leaders. As such, the ultimate expression of such a notion is where each citizen's vote directly determines the leaders with no intermediary.
To me, the direct elections of a democracy are not the ultimate expression of the democratic process. To me what really sticks out in democracy is the passing and/or rejection of bills in the House and Senate. To me that is the first place democracy can break down, but its also the most powerful in terms of ultimate expression.