You have expressed an extremely valid point most citizens do not understand.
As to where the nation strayed from a Republican form of government, I believe the answer is the Fourteenth Amendment. This single amendment essentially rewrote the Constitution. Supreme Court decisions based upon this amendment, particularly the "Incorporation Doctrine" adopted by the Taft Supreme Court in the mid-nineteen twenties, stripped states of the guarantee of a Republican form of government.
OK, you have me studying the 14th Amendment now. Several years ago some attorney claimed that it was changed from its original; he provided some records on the matter which I will have to find.
I see we are fellow Californians; what’s happening to our state???