By David Van Reybrouck
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Extra info for Against Elections: The Case for Democracy
Or so they think. Instead of meekly recognising that the balance of power has changed and going in search of new and more worthwhile forms of government, they keep on playing the electoral-media game, often against their own best interests and those of the citizens who are starting to find it all a bit tiresome and whose trust is not likely to be won back by so much overwrought and transparent hysteria; the efficiency crisis only exacerbates the crisis of legitimacy. The results are predictable and the symptoms exhibited by Western democracy are as manifold as they are vague.
7 The distrust is mutual, incidentally. In 2011 Dutch researcher Peter Kanne presented some interesting figures on how politicians in The Hague look at Dutch society. 8 So politicians assume that, on the whole, citizens adhere to other, in their view lesser, values than they do and there’s no reason to believe that the picture is different elsewhere in Europe. However, getting back to the citizen, the reason often given for this increase in distrust is the ‘apathy’ which results from individualisation and consumerism.
Those qualified to vote in Europe not only vote less, they are more capricious. Those who do vote may still recognise the legitimacy of the procedure, but they show less and less loyalty to a particular party. The organisations set up to represent them receive only provisional support from the electorate and in this context political scientists speak of ‘electoral volatility’ and conclude that it has increased enormously since the 1990s. Figures suggest a turnover of 10, 20 or even 30%, resulting in the rule of the floating voter and an increasing incidence of political earthquakes.
Against Elections: The Case for Democracy by David Van Reybrouck