“This democracy is…I don’t consider that we really have a democracy right now,” Trump responded. “They indict their political opponents. Freedom of expression is threatened because the press is very dishonest, very dishonest. » He notably criticized Welker for having “fought” him in his responses. The “they” in his response, meanwhile, obviously referred to President Biden and his allies, part of Trump’s effort to present his various accusations as irreducibly political.
But the claim that we don’t have “much democracy” is striking. This is selfish, on Trump’s part, tied to his efforts to spread false claims about the 2020 presidential election in the interview.
This is also a particularly widespread idea among the members of its base.
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On Monday, independent media outlet The 19th released the results of a national poll conducted by SurveyMonkey. The survey is designed to be statistically significant for relatively small populations, allowing for a more robust understanding of the views of minority groups by race, gender and sexual identity.
One question inadvertently directly referenced Trump’s comments. When asked how well American democracy worked for them, a majority of respondents said it worked “not very well” or “not well at all,” six percentage points higher than those who responded that it worked “very” or “fairly well”. .
Interestingly, the groups most likely to say democracy works well were Asian Americans and Black Americans. In each case, a majority of respondents said democracy was working at least “fairly well,” with only a third of Asians and 4 in 10 Black Americans saying it was working “not so well” or worse.
Among Hispanic Americans, opinions were also divided. And among white people? A majority said democracy was not working well.
These differences, however, were reflected in the partisan breakdown at the highest level of the poll. Democrats and independents who tend to vote Democratic (often called “most Democratic”) were much more likely to say democracy was working well than Republicans. If we break down white responses by party, you can see a wide divide: White Democrats were the group that viewed democracy most positively. White Republicans were least likely to do so.
In fact, far fewer white Republicans said democracy was working at least somewhat well than saying democracy was working “not so well at all.”
There is no doubt that Trump is partly responsible for these numbers. His false insistence that the 2020 election was stolen contributed to the erosion of confidence in the election results, a central problem – otherwise THE central – component of American democracy.
But that probably also lies partly in the question. It’s not just about how democracy works, but also how it works for the defendant. And one of the driving beliefs of the Republican Party right now is the idea that America is evolving in a way that puts them at a disadvantage — that it puts them at a disadvantage, in the eyes of many Trump supporters, specifically because they are white.
There is another point to consider here. A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed that Democrats were also more likely to say “preserving democracy” was a central aspect of their 2024 presidential election, with 4 in 10 respondents offering that as a point of consideration. Half as many Republicans identified the same priority.
This introduces some nuances. To some extent, these questions measure satisfaction with how power is allocated. But the main result is remarkable: Whites have less confidence in democracy than non-whites, with white Republicans feeling particularly underserved.
First among them, the one whose most recent encounter with democracy led a majority of voters to choose to dismiss him from public office.