Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Trusting political parties

On this election day, it seems appropriate to discuss the relationship between the public and political parties. The Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University has published a new study entitled, "(Mis)Trust in Political Parties in Latin America." The upshot is that there isn't much trust. There is a lot of interesting stuff (such as the fact that the young, urban population is the least trusting) but given today I will highlight the comparative angle.

In the United States, we need to ask ourselves hard questions about our own democracy when only 32.4% of the population trusts political parties, which ranks us 14 out of 22 countries surveyed. In Venezuela, where Chávez has railed against parties for years, and which of course is usually labeled a dictatorship by U.S. politicians, the number is still higher (37.2%). In Mexico, it is higher yet (41.5%).

In the U.S., one result has been a rising number of independents/unaffiliated, as people lean in one ideological direction or another, but feel little connection to specific parties. Maybe U.S. parties ought to go talk to their counterparts in places like Chile and Uruguay (each at 41%), and ask how they maintain the trust of their citizens.


1:13 PM  

It’s your philosophical duty not to participate in the
theocratic-oligarchies’ Punch & Judy Show Elections.

Economics = Terrorists yelling, “What do ya think, apples grow on trees?”

Stay on groovin' safari,
Tor Hershman

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