Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Democracy is in Trouble

In the 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was optimism among democracy advocates that it was destined to not just be the dominant mechanism for governance, but the near universal standard. Today, that optimism has been blunted by the rise of Putinism in Russia and the new nationalism of Shi’s China as powerful alternatives to what they consider weak and inefficient Western democracy.

There has been a recent restoration of some semblance of democratic procedures in Argentina and Venezuela, but democratic values are playing defense in many parts of the world. Most importantly, Americans are beginning to believe their system of elections is failing.

Gallup recently asked if people think the presidential campaign is working the way people believe it should. That number has declined precipitously among adherents of all three parties. Overall, only 37 percent of the public now believe the election process is working appropriately.

The metrics of concern about the country and its fundamental political institution is well known. Most people believe the country is on the wrong track, they have little trust in government and offer almost no job approval of Congress.

Anger with the system is driving presidential politics and at least some parts of the public don’t necessarily consider democracy that essential.
  • Fewer than 30% of Millennials believe it’s essential to live in a democracy (World Value Survey – 2005-2011)
  • More than 25% of Gen X and Millennials believe democracy is a “bad” or “very bad” way to run the U.S.
See Vox: Are Americans losing faith in democracy?

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