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Alexander, Amy C.
Welzel, Christian
Year of Publication: 
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ILE Working Paper Series 10
[Introduction] In two widely read articles, Roberto Foa and Yascha Mounk reach the alarming conclusion that support for democracy is in a rapid generational decline. The remarkable point about this diagnosis is its emphasis on the Millennial generation’s fading support for democracy and the claim that democratic support is steeply eroding in even the most mature democracies. The latter contention marks a significant turning point in the debate. Public discourse has taken a pessimistic tone since quite some time, bemoaning the apparently ubiquitous resurgence of authoritarianism outside the Western world. But the mature democracies of the West seemed to constitute an insurmountable firewall against the authoritarian offense. The novelty in Foa and Mounk’s analysis is that it questions this very premise, resonating with growing concerns in the face of spreading populism. Indeed, Foa and Mounk imply that the generational erosion of democratic support is responsible for the populist turn throughout the electorates of mature democracies, especially among younger cohorts. In conclusion, Foa and Mounk suggest that democracy itself is in danger, including places where it seemed safest over many generations...
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