Monday, October 16, 2017

First, the Good News.

A Pew Research survey of 38 nations found that three quarters of respondents support representative democracy. Two-thirds even back direct democracy. That's the good news.

We're still keen on representative government but not nearly so pleased with what we're getting from those we've been putting in office. And that's giving rise to some less than democratic appetites.

“The level of support for some of the nondemocratic approaches, even in Western long-standing democracies, is notable,” said Richard Wike, one of the report’s lead authors. “If you’re looking at rule by the military or strong leader models, it’s minorities, but it’s significant minorities.”

Support for representative democracy is strong in the United States, with 40 percent committed to it and a further 46 percent less committed, meaning respondents also expressed support for a nondemocratic approach. Only 7 percent indicated support for only nondemocratic forms of government.

But there are partisan divides, both in the United States and in Europe. The survey asked respondents to express whether or not they believed the statement: “A system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts would be a good way to govern our country.”

Just 17 percent of Democrats agreed with that statement, but one-third of Republicans did.

Education is a key indicator of support for nondemocratic approaches. Some 24 percent of Americans without a high school [diploma] said military rule would be good for the country — compared with just 7 percent of those with high school [diplomas].

Democracy is still holding its own in many countries, ours included, for now. However liberal democracy is under attack even in countries we consider our friends and NATO allies including Hungary, Poland and Turkey where the rule of law is being suppressed to make way for authoritarian rule (while we sit by and look the other way).

This makes it all the more infuriating that our Liberal prime minister so casually reneged on his promise of electoral reform.

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