(POLL) AMONG REPUBLICANS, SUPPORT FOR BASIC CIVIL RIGHTS IS ERODING

A poll by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist has found decreasing support by Republican voters for civil liberties that most Americans consider basic to their birthright.

Republicans increasingly believe that the press has too much freedom, that the right to vote has been expanded too much and that the right of Americans to petition and protest the government has gotten out of hand.

According to the Washington Post, polling data Democratic backsliding is a recipe towards illiberalism, something the U.S. is currently experiencing.

A quarter of Republicans believe the country has gone too far in expanding the right to vote. Worse, 4 in 10 believe the United States has too greatly expanded freedom of the press. The same share also says that the “right to protest or criticize the government” has gotten out of hand. This is astonishing coming from a party whose entire raison d’être for eight years was to protest and criticize the White House. The shares of Democrats agreeing that these rights — to vote, to a free press, to criticize the government — are too expansive were relatively tiny (5, 11 and 7 percent, respectively).

A March survey by Pew Research resulted in similar findings:

Republicans (68%) are less likely than Democrats (88%) to view the right to nonviolent protest as very important. Similarly, while majorities in both parties say it is very important that the rights of people with unpopular views are protected, fewer Republicans (66%) than Democrats (80%) say this. The sharpest partisan disagreement is over the importance of the freedom of news organizations to criticize political leaders. About three-quarters of Democrats (76%) say the freedom of the press to criticize politicians is very important to maintaining a strong democracy; only about half of Republicans (49%) say the same.”

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