The American Interest: A Republic If You Can Keep It
In 2011, before anyone ever thought about “Trump-for-President,” our data show 40 percent of the American population was expressing distinctly non-democratic views, providing the raw material for anti-establishment political insurgencies. In the United States non-democratic groups have been increasing in size over the last 20 years, and are driven primarily by social rather than economic factors. Data from Japan, Chile, and Indonesia reveal robust non-democratic groups within these functioning democracies. For example, in Indonesia in 2011, those who were ambivalent or alienated from democracy equaled 56 percent of the adult population (substantially higher than in the U.S.). This suggests tentative support for democracy is in the 4th largest democracy in the world. Likewise in Chile, discontent with democracy remains ominously large. In Japan, the support for democracy attains a middle position between the United States, on the one hand, and Indonesia and Chile on the other. But in all of these examples the proportion of adults who either feel ambivalent about democracy or reject it outright is high enough to serve as the basis for destabilizing non-democratic movements.
Each wave of the World Values Survey includes four questions posing radically different alternative forms of government. The respondents are asked to evaluate each political system.