There is nothing easy about these questions.
[WS:] I am not saying that there is. My point was that the current public discourse seems to be stuck in some variant of the consent approach, which typically focuses on the popular vote, and is cherished by demagogues of all stripes as the final word on governance. In reality, this view is theoretically very problematic (cf. Arrow's impossibility theorem http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow's_impossibility_theorem), often turns into silly popularity contests (as Ari already saw it), and does not even consider alternative approaches to the good governance issue.
But surely enough, there is no easy solution to it - and naïve insistence on voting and silly popularity contests is certainly not among them.
PS. Can you summarize the argument in your paper on legal positivism and democracy?