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A New Study Shows That Many Millennials Aren’t Sure They Like Democracy

Okay, 2016 may not have been the best year for politics—but is it really worth dumping democracy over? New research shows that younger people are so disengaged from democracy that they’d be willing to try other methods, including government by military coup, according to Quartz. The study, by Harvard University’s Yashcha Mounk and the University of Melbourne’s Roberto Stefan Foa, found that people who live in “stable liberal democracies” have become cynical about the government, and that young people are the most cynical of all.

With data covering generations in North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in Janaury, Mounk and Foa found that political habits have caused young people to lose hope in their ability to “influence public policy.” According to a study completed in July 2016, millennials are less inclined to support freedom of speech than their older relatives were, creating what the researchers call a “crisis of democratic legitimacy.” Basically, younger people don’t feel like they have any say in their government, to the point where they don’t even participate in the political process.

Some of the eye-opening statistics include that only about a third of American millennials find civil rights necessary in democracy and that, as of 2010, only 41 percent of millennials are interested in politics. Compared to 16 percent of American youth in 1995, a quarter of millennials in 2011 believed that democracy was a “bad” political system to follow.

A possible reason for this lack of faith in the government could be that millennials grew up in pretty stable democracies, and don’t realize what it could be like to live under a different political system. While it’s unclear how well the stats align with the truth, it’s fair to point out that, while more millennials voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, not enough millennials on the Democratic side voted at all for her to win, according to Bloomberg.

This alarming research proves that now is not the time to become inactive about politics. Do as much as you can to learn about your political system and find out how you can help!

Kristen Perrone is a Siena College Class of 2018 alumna. She studied English during her time at Siena.