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Majority Of Americans See Democracy As Weak And Getting Weaker

Lights shine inside the U.S. Capitol Building as night falls in Washington, S...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Lights shine inside the U.S. Capitol Building as night falls in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018.

Majority Of Americans See Democracy As Weak And Getting Weaker

GUESTS:

Sarah Repucci,, senior director for research and analysis at Freedom House

Transcript

The president of the United States has admired aloud the powers of dictators Kim Jong-Un and Vladimir Putin.

Nationalism has risen around the globe, including in the U.S., where confidence in government, the rule of law and freedom of the press and of speech have recently been under assault.

So how is American democracy doing these days? It's certainly not on life-support, but many believe it's become dangerously anemic. The George W. Bush Insitute, the Penn Biden Center and Freedom House, a non-profit which monitors the health of democracies around the world, decided to evaluate its health.

These partners engaged two polling firms — one Democratic, one Republican — which held focus groups and embarked on a national survey. The results were both heartening and concerning, as Sarah Repucci, senior director for research and analysis at Freedom House, explains on KPBS Midday Edition Tuesday.

Highlights from The Democracy Project:

– 84 percent of respondents said it was important to live in a democracy.

– 60 percent rated it "absolutely important" (10 out of 10).

– Democrats, the party out of power, believe that American democracy is weak (68 percent) and getting weaker (79 percent).

– 39 percent of Republicans say democracy is weak, and 47 percent say it's getting weaker.

– Non-white Americans are not as convinced as whites of the "absolute importance" of living in a democracy, 59 percent to 64 percent.

– The top concerns of Americans about democracy are racism, discrimination and big money in politics.

– And a majority of Americans (54 percent) believe protecting the rights of individuals and small groups should be a priority in a democracy.

Editor’s Note. A previous version of this story incorrectly named the George W. Bush Institute as the George W. Bush Foundation and the Penn Biden Center as the Penn Biden Foundation. This has been corrected.

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