It probably started at the local level. Auditors. Zoning commissioners. School board members. Staffers stepped up, and other elected officials stepped in. This worked for a while.
But then city council seats went vacant. Soon cities began operating without mayors, states without representatives and governors.
When no one ran for President, the Vice President had to step up, but he cut and ran.
At last, when the suffering had become unbearable and the chaos intolerable, the people began to take charge once again.