Losing Faith: Majority of Young Americans Doubt Our Democracy

The future of American democracy is in peril, if you ask the younger generation. That's just what Harvard's Kennedy School did in its annual youth poll, which surveys Americans ages 18 to 29 about their attitudes on various issues. The survey finds 52 percent of respondents believe U.S. democracy is either "in trouble" or "failing." Only seven percent think America is a "healthy democracy."

Broken down by party, the results show more young Republicans have doubts about our democracy than young Democrats. A combined 70 percent of Republicans think we're in trouble/failing versus 45 percent of Democrats. Steve Munisteri, former Texas GOP chair who started the Young Conservatives of Texas 40 years ago, says these results are reflective of the current state of politics. "Anytime you have a polarized society, you're going to have half the country thinking you're going in the wrong direction, and that's particularly true with young people," he tells KTRH. "I don't think it's so much a change in attitude as it is that you're dealing with young people that tend to be more ideological and more critical."

Munisteri is also not surprised at the finding that more Republicans think our democracy is in trouble. "I know many Republicans, not just young Republicans but older Republicans, who say they think democracy is in trouble because of concerns about election integrity and reports of voter fraud," he says. "So that may explain part of the split."

More surprising is the split between Republicans and Democrats in the poll on the question of American greatness. Just 21 percent of young Democrats think America is the greatest nation in the world, as opposed to 62 percent of young Republicans. Overall, only about half of younger Americans think America is the best country---in line with other recent polls showing patriotism on the decline among millennials. "With young people, I think it is just lack of awareness of what it truly is like to live in a socialist system," says Munisteri. "Otherwise they would appreciate America more."

Photo: iStockphoto

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