The debate on citizen images of political parties is long standing, but recently it has taken on added importance as the evidence of party dealignment has spread across Western democracies. This article assembles an unprecedented cross-national array of public opinion data that describe current images of political parties. Sentiments are broadly negative, and this pessimism has deepened over the past generation. Then, we demonstrate how distrust of parties decreases voting turnout, contributes to the fragmentation of contemporary party systems and the electoral base of new protest parties, and stimulates broader cynicism of government. Although political parties are the foundation of the system of representative democracy, fewer citizens today trust political parties, and this is reshaping the nature of democratic politics.