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Are Millennials Backing Off Democracy? Catalyst Contributors Debate the Issue

October 25, 2017 2 minute Read by William McKenzie
William Galston and Yascha Mounk, two leading political scientists, discuss in their Catalyst pieces whether support for democracy is declining among millennials.

 Yascha Mounk, a New America fellow and Harvard University instructor, kicked off a heated discussion this year with an article in the Journal of Democracy that warns about declining support for democracy. Mounk particularly cited surveys looking at democratic support among millennials.

 The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute asked Mounk to further explain his conclusions. You can hear about them in this Catalyst video interview. 

Not surprisingly, his view is not universally shared. William Galton, a Brookings Institution fellow and Wall Street Journal columnist, writes in The Catalyst that democracy is not in danger at home, including among millennials. He points to other survey data to buttress his point, as well as periods in our past where challenges were far greater. 

Yet Galston contends that Americans should not become complacent. The struggle for more Americans to enter the middle class is one sign that democracy may not be delivering for all of us. Similarly, the inability of Washington to come to terms with major problems like our creaky immigration system creates strains. 

After you watch and read these contributions, please share your views in the feedback boxes. Enter the debate! And sign up for free in the Subscribe box.




William McKenzie
William McKenzie

William McKenzie is editorial director for the George W. Bush Institute, where he also serves as editor of The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute.

Active in education issues, he co-teaches an education policy class at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. He also participates in the Bush Institute’s school accountability project.

Before joining the Bush Institute, the Fort Worth native served 22 years as an editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News and led the newspaper’s Texas Faith blog. The University of Texas graduate’s columns appeared nationwide and he has won a Pulitzer Prize and commentary awards from the Education Writers Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the Texas Headliners Foundation, among other organizations. He still contributes columns and essays for the Morning News and The Weekly Standard.

Before joining the News in 1991, he earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at Arlington and spent a dozen years in Washington, D.C. During that time, he edited the Ripon Forum.

McKenzie has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, on the board of a homeless organization, and on governing committees of a Dallas public school. He also is an elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, where he lives with his wife and their twin children.

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