Americans are losing confidence in democracy

James Hohmann reports:

Half of Americans think the United States is in “real danger of becoming a nondemocratic, authoritarian country.” A majority, 55 percent, see democracy as “weak” — and 68 percent believe it is “getting weaker.” Eight in 10 Americans say they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the condition of democracy here.

These are among the sobering results of a major bipartisan poll published Tuesday that was commissioned by the George W. Bush Institute, the University of Pennsylvania’s Biden Center and Freedom House, which tracks the vitality of democracies around the world. The three groups have partnered to create the Democracy Project, with the goal of monitoring the health of the American system.

“We hope this work can be a step toward restoring faith in democracy and democratic institutions,” Bush said in a statement.

The concern about the condition of democracy inside the United States transcends the tribal divide between Republicans and Democrats, with majorities across races, genders, age groups, levels of education and income brackets expressing fear.

“Americans are deeply worried about the health of their democracy and want to make it stronger,” said Michael Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House. “There appears to be a crisis in confidence in the functioning of our democracy, and it is not a party-line issue.”

The report comes against the backdrop of a raging debate over civility and Donald Trump’s polarizing approach to the presidency. [Continue reading…]

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