If rights were decided by popular vote, the US would still have slavery.
Imo, it's the Constitution/BoR and federal government that protects rights and individual citizens from the abusive power by the states. As I watch my state legislators attempt a land grab that favors unsustainable over development, I'm thankful that we have a federal government (such as it is) that protects the rights of the citizens and the environment for future generations. However, the states can also check the power of the federal Government by passing an amendment to the constitution...or filling the courts with like minded people. But essentially, dividing the power between the states and federal government does seem to create an equilibrium of sorts.