Citizens of established democracies are becoming skeptical of democracy’s worth, according to a recent Journal of Democracy article by political scientists Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk. But analyst Jeff Guo disputes the soundness of these findings.
“American millennials are indeed less enthusiastic than their parents or grandparents about living in a democracy,” he writes in the Washington Post. “But they are by no means skeptics of democracy. They’re just a bit less gung-ho about it. On a scale of 1-10, a majority of them still think that living in a democracy merits an 8, 9 or 10.”
Is Western democracy on the precipice of collapse? Guo asks:
That’s one way to interpret the data. But it’s unclear how predictive these survey questions really are. Foa and Mounk say that the opinion data could foretell, for instance, the weakening of democracies in Venezuela and Poland in recent decades. But neither Venezuela nor Poland had strong democratic institutions in the first place.
The democracies in places like United States and northern Europe are much more established. What does it mean that democratic fervor in these places is declining? By and large, we just don’t know.