In this article, we sketch preliminary contours of the political geographies of (direct) democracy - a scholarly field with a "ghostly presence" in contemporary critical geography. Central to our exploration are the contentious metaphors of the political subjectivity of "the people" and the affective dispositions of rationality versus irrationality discursively attributed to its subjectivity. These metaphors often come up in the political rhetoric of direct democratic politics, when a majority vote of "the people" differs from the preferences of political correctness. We decipher the semantic tensions around the metaphor of "the people as political subject" in the media-discourses that emerged after a well known controversial vote in Switzerland (on the anti-minaret initiative in 2009). Two opposing metaphors are identified: one problematizing the irrational affect of the masses (in voting for populist positions) and one celebrating the people as a rational sovereign and political subject.