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Response to swag (Original post)

Mon Aug 31, 2020, 09:51 PM

2. Some things clearly stand out, interpreting it all takes some work.

(American life for the majority has clearly declined along with democracy as we well know).
Excerpts, Ed:
..More recently, the limitations of Americans’ commitment to specific democratic norms has begun to come back into focus. For example, a series of surveys conducted between 2010 and 2017 employing items originally designed for use in Latin America found 23–36% of US respondents agreeing that a military coup would be justified “when there is a lot of crime” or “when there is a lot of corruption.” Researchers concerned that the respondents might be misunderstanding the questions tested a variety of alternative question wordings—for example, specifying that the military would “take power over the U.S. government by removing the president by force.” However, they concluded that “respondents’ opinions are not conditional on clarifying the target and nature of the coup” (13).

In another series of surveys conducted in 2017–2018.. only 73% of Americans said it was “important” or “essential” that “government does not interfere with journalists or news organizations,” and only 68% said it was “important” or “essential” that “government effectively prevents private actors from engaging in politically-motivated violence or intimidation” (ref. 6, pp. 703–704). Unlike surveys in which respondents are asked to assess the “importance” of democratic norms in the abstract, the survey items presented in Table 1 mimic real politics in pitting democratic values against other cherished values such as patriotism, strong leadership, and the “traditional American way of life.” Faced with such trade-offs, relatively few Republicans—1 in 4, or 5, or 10, depending on the item—decline the invitation to “bend the rules” or “take the law into their own hands.”§

Republicans are not alone in their uncertain attachment to democratic values. For example, Kalmoe and Mason found that majorities of Democrats and Republicans alike viewed the other party as “a serious threat to the U.S. & its people,” while Democrats were slightly more likely to say that “violence would be justified” if the opposing party won the 2020 presidential election (ref. 14, pp. 18, 19, 23).,.
>The willingness of both Democrats and Republicans to sanction abuses of democratic procedure is especially clear when survey items refer explicitly to the president. For example, in 2017, with a Republican in the White House, Republicans were twice as likely as Democrats (24–11%) to agree that “when the country is facing very difficult times it is justifiable for the president of the country to close the Congress and govern without Congress.” However, in 2014, with a Democratic president and a Republican majority in Congress, that partisan difference was reversed—30% of Democrats but only 6% of Republicans were willing to countenance the president closing Congress (15).

While antidemocratic sentiments clearly exist in both major political parties, the nature and bases of those sentiments are likely to differ significantly between the two parties. The specific survey items in Table 1, with their references to “the traditional American way of life” and politicians offering handouts, tap frustrations that are more common among Republicans than among Democrats. Moreover, the attitudes that turn out to be highly predictive of agreement with these items among Republicans are quite rare among Democrats.¶ Thus, an examination of Democrats’ allegiance to democratic values would require somewhat different measures and very different explanations from those offered here...

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