Why Young Americans Are Questioning Democracy


The degree to which there is deep dissatisfaction with the democratic system across the board— but especially among younger people— should have us very worried. I’ve been looking at couple of different polls. The main one I draw from is the World Value Survey: it’s the same set of questions asked every 5 or 6 years in over 100 countries. They have this battery of questions around how people feel about their democracy and whether they actually are still in favor of it. One of the assumptions was that people really
care for democracy. They would say that it’s important for them
to live in a democracy and that they would reject authoritarian alternatives. In some of my recent work, I show that is
actually not the case. 20 years ago, 6% of young affluent Americans
said they were open to army rule. Now it’s 35%. That’s an increase of nearly six-fold. And finally, when you look at our politics,
it’s clear that we have elected a president who has threatened to jail his political
opponent. Who said that he would leave Americans in
suspense over whether or not he would accept the outcome of the election. I think there are a couple of reasons why young
people are more skeptical of democracy. It made them wealthier. They could say, “You know what, I’m a lot
wealthier than my parents.” For young people, that’s not longer true. If you are 30 years old, you only have a 1
in 2 chance of making more money than your parents did at the same age. I hope that some of the young people who said
in my surveys “We don’t care so much about democracy; it’s not that important to us,” have woken up to just how crucial these issues are over the last months.

Maurice Vega

25 Responses

  1. People assume I'm conservative because I have the American flag as my icon. The left needs to take back patriotism. Why does the party that embraces the confederate flag also get to own the American flag?

  2. It's not like Hillary was any better – she stole the DNC nominee from Bernie and was bought and paid for by companies and foreign powers…

  3. I think when speaking to young people you'll find that they support equal freedom, transparency, equal opportunity and being able to have a voice in government. What they seem to be actually against is the inherent corrosive nature that is capitalism, how time and time again these "heroes" get elected to save the day only to disappoint greatly by not following promises amongst things. Capitalism is flawed and young people being the most interconnected and we'll educated generation we've ever seen historically, are starting to see how ineffective and self-destructive capitalism is.

  4. Democracy?  Oh, you must mean the plutocratic oligarchy, right?  In that case I totally question 'Democracy'.

  5. Libertarianism!

    Why is the only alternative to democracy, totalitarianism? Libertarianism is also an alternative and is better I posit.

  6. People forget, the point of Democracy is that if you don't like what you see you can vote to change it.  Any other system of rule does not have this luxury.  Sure, you can argue that it is impossible due to some "conspiracy theories" but at the end of the day, if you can't trust anybody in power you need to run for office.  No one has a gun at your head trying to stop you, it takes hard work and time, but if you have the best ideas, eventually you will be elected.  Hopefully power will not corrupt you like the rest of clowns in office 🙂

  7. Is America truly a Democracy…or an Oligarchy? And is Trump a President…or a Demagogue? These are the questions were hearing from young people in metro Nyc these days

  8. I'm curious what system those who don't think it's essential to live in a democracy would choose. I don't think democracy is the perfect system, but it's the best we've dreamed up so far. That doesn't mean that we can't change things. It doesn't mean we don't still have to fight like hell. But in the end, if we don't make that choice ourselves, someone else will make it for us, and that has never turned out well.

  9. If you simply translate the word "democracy" into modern English, I bet it goes to 99%.
    What's the point of asking what people think of X if people have varying understanding of the meaning of X? I'm a little disappointed, Harvard.

  10. Why Young Americans Are Questioning Democracy? It's because our "Democracy" isn't a Democracy. It's an Oligarchy and we don't chose our leaders. They're handed down to us from on high by the rich and we pretend that we actually chose someone even though that's a joke. Young Americans aren't questioning Democracy. We're questioning the facade that is our governance model pretending it's something that isn't. Besides, we never were a Democracy. We're a "Democratic" Republic that is no more since Citizens United and the Patriot Act came into effect.

  11. The only way we can make things better is to do away with this monetary system. We have the ability and the technology to make this planet an amazing place, where peace, love, and freedom could rule the land, yet we choose to live this way. We have the technology to make anything run cleaner, last longer, and have no cost. Tesla made free energy that was destroyed by J.P Morgan because with “Free stuff”, one cannot enslave the masses. I do not care what you believe in, I am telling you, both the left-wing and the right-wing belong to the same bird. The monetary system is/has taken over this planet and we continue to work for them because we are enslaved. Our natural resources are diminishing. Meanwhile, our population is exponentially increasing. Any and all scientist agree the resources are running out. NASA says it will happen within just a couple decades.
    Did you know President George W. Bush bought 298,840 acres of land in Paraguay? Bush did not buy this land for any other reason besides the fact that it sits on top of the biggest aquifer on planet earth. Aquifer Guarani covers roughly 460,000 square miles under parts of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. What do you think this world will look like when water is the new GOLD? Do you want your children to live in a savage world? It all comes down to this people. What do you want for your children?
    This planet needs a whole new system. https://youtu.be/KphWsnhZ4Ag The Choice is Ours. The people need to remove political agendas along with having the open-mindedness and willingness to overcome. I know this would take many many moons to achieve but a change is already on its way, and so far its looking like whites are going to be the blame for everything throughout history, and this is why we are watching white genocide take place all over the world today, and no one is saying anything about it. Only the winners write history and we are losing this war so far. We have some huge decisions to make. Do we want to RULE this planet, rid this country of all other races, and bully the world taking all the power we can, or do we want peace, and trust that "all men are created equal"?
    No men are created equal under this monetary system. It breeds division and gives birth to classes.
    Do not get upset at me, I am simply stating the truths. I honestly believe we need to unite and start communicating our options, or we can just sit back and enjoy the ride, until they come knocking on our door. They are coming either way. The way I see it, these elites are causing all this shit to happen, and they keep us divided, undecided, and oblivious to the endgame. Before we know it we are going to be outnumbered everywhere, and this whole country, along with the rest of the world is going to turn into a third-world shit whole so they can KEEP IN POWER, behind their fucking mansions. We got to start using our heads people.
    I know you all see that the majority of us seem to be fucking crazy anymore too. I don't know if it’s the air we are breathing, or in the food we are eating but some shit is going down. Too many are unable to rationalize, considerate, and articulate anymore. I am afraid we are running out of time, and they are poisoning our brains to top it all off.
    Call me crazy, or whatever the hell you want, but you know I am right.

  12. America is not a democracy, was not intended by the founders or the Constution to be a democracy. Democracy is mob rule.

  13. I read the survey on the World Values Survey website for the most recent year for which there is data on the United States (2011), and it does NOT say that less than 1/3rd of millennial Americans thought it was essential to live in a democracy. Quite the opposite, in fact. On average, Americans of all age groups believe democracy is important. (Questions 130 and 140 at p. 81 and p. 91 respectively). http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSDocumentationWV6.jsp

    I'm guessing the World Values Survey to which he's referring hasn't been published yet? "Data collection for the WVS-7 survey round will be completed in December 2019-January 2020. Data and all related survey documentation will be made available at the WVS web-site in free access by mid-2020."

  14. They want democracy and socialism, and they know what they are in Scandinavia, with wide minds and curiosity, which Republicans have not.  REpublicans want imaginary subconscious security.

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