A republic is mutually exclusive to a democracy in the same way that a apple is mutually exclusive to an orange. You can make an apple taste like an orange, and vice versa, but at the end of the day, you can't magically turn one into the other.
We live in a republic that tastes like a democracy - when you say "our democracy is crumbling around us", you're being an illogical idiot. What democracy? We live in a republic. If anything is crumbling, it's that this republic no longer tastes like a democracy. Does that mean the fall of democracy? No, it just means that the next time you take a bite out of our nations fruit, that bitter shit taste on your mouth will be the wholesome goodness of power to the few.
If you want your voice to matter, having representatives in the middle is going to get in the way. Democracy is, without exceptions, the power of The People. Democracy has not existed on American soil since the golden age of the First Nations. Democracy as an institution has not existed since ancient Greece. It worked for them, but the idea of people being able to govern themselves scares the people too cloistered in their privilege to entertain the notion that even the lowly peasant should get as much say as the mightiest of the global corporations.