What democracy needs, in both its civic-organic aspects as well as its institutional aspects, in order to work as it should:
All people must have a meaningful ability to engage with, affect, and participate in the fundamental institutions and mechanisms of democratic governance. This includes but is not limited to fair and secure voting, representation, and participation.
There must be controls in place so that the institutional mechanisms function in conformance with the collective will of the citizenry. This includes respect for rule of law and for democratic norms.
People from all walks of life and in all situations must have agency, with freedom and power to act on their own behalf and in their own interests.
People in communities (of place, of interest, and other kinds) must decide about and act together on the issues and problems that they see. Associational life must be robust.
Institutions and organizations must operate in ways that do not diminish agency or action, and are additive to what people do in their capacity as citizens.
These are just my own thoughts, as I reflect on the state of democracy today. How would you answer the question? What does democracy need to work as it should? Does it need something now that is different from what it might have needed at another time?