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On this AEI Events Podcast, experts convened at the American Enterprise Institute to celebrate Pew Research Center’s new report on global public opinions of democracy.
In his introductory remarks, Pew Research Center’s Richard Wike outlined the main findings of the report, which collected data from 38 countries to explore international support of democracy and attitudes toward nondemocratic forms of government. He explained that while the report’s data suggested broad support for representative and direct democracy worldwide, significant minorities endorsed nondemocratic alternatives.
The Brookings Institution’s Robert Kagan disagreed with the concept of “democratic backsliding” and argued that the notion of states moving singularly toward democratic governance represents a selective view of history. The Center for American Progress’ Vikram Singh added that democracy can be threatened by those who appear to support it, noting that authoritarian regimes often initially come into power with populist democratic elections.
Open Society Foundations’ Stephen Rickard emphasized that faith in the democratic process is strongest in wealthier countries and that populations inevitably look for alternative forms of government if they feel their quality of life could be improved. AEI’s Danielle Pletka concluded that the desire to be free is universal and that democracy is a necessary but insufficient component to reaching such a goal.
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