In 2014, 1 in 6 Americans said "army rule would be a 'good' or 'very good' thing," The New York Timesreported Tuesday. That marks a significant increase from 1995, when just 1 in 16 reported having a favorable opinion of the autocratic style of government.
The data comes from a preview of a study to be published in January in the Journal of Democracy. Study authors Yascha Mounk, who wrote the memoir Stranger in My Own Country, and political scientist Roberto Stefan Foa found approval particularly high among millennials, with only 19 percent saying it would be "illegitimate for the military to take over if the government were incompetent or failing to do its job," the Times reported. Forty-three percent of "older Americans" said it would not be legitimate for the military to do so.
The trend isn't isolated to the United States either, Mounk and Foa found. The pair uncovered similar trends in Australia, Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. While young people in each of the countries were particularly indifferent to democracy, the study found the overall number of people who say living in a democracy is "essential" has also dropped.
The findings, Mounk said, indicate the "warning signs are flashing red" for the decline of democracy. "That's only one measure," Mounk said, noting these were just the results of a single study. "But it should have us worried."
Just 100 days before the first nominating contest, Jeb Bush — who was once seen as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination — is downsizing his Miami headquarters to save $1 million a month, cutting payroll by 40 percent and slashing 45 percent of the campaign budget.
Despite these drastic cutbacks and Bush's plummeting poll numbers, his campaign is still trying to cast the downsizing as a positive move made from a "position of strength." "This is about winning the race," a Bush adviser told Bloomberg. "We're doing it now and making the shifts with confidence. We expect to win."
Bloomberg contends that those outside of Bush's campaign will likely see things differently:
Analysts and rival campaigns will view the changes as a desperate act, perhaps the last one, of a man whose campaign has dropped in the polls in recent months and has remained mired in the middle of a crowded field despite a month-long blitz of friendly television ads. None of the changes deal directly with what even many of Bush's supporters say is his main challenge: The burden of trying to convince voters hungry for change to choose a man whose father and brother both served as president. [Bloomberg]