A recent report has listed the United States as a “backsliding” democracy, noting a “visible deterioration to democratic ideals that began back in 2019.”
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), performed the assessment. This is the first time the U.S. has been labeled a “backsliding” democracy since the organization’s founding in 1995.
Although a number of factors led to IDEA placing the U.S. in that classification, the report notes that a “historic turning point came in 2020-21” after former President Donald Trump refused to accept his election loss to now-President Joe Biden.
“The visible deterioration of democracy in the United States, as seen in the increasing tendency to contest credible election results, the efforts to suppress participation (in elections), and the runaway polarisation … is one of the most concerning developments,” the report added.
The report also referenced government crackdowns on uprisings in response to the police killing of George Floyd, citing a “decline in the quality of freedom of association and assembly during the summer of protests in 2020.”
The United States is not a member stateStockholm-based organization.
IDEA only identified 98 democracies worldwide, the lowest number IDEA had ever counted over the years. One hundred and seven governments were authoritarian regimes. Twenty governments were a mix of both.
According to the organization the pandemic played a part in the destruction of democracy around world.
“Many democratic governments are increasingly adopting authoritarian tactics, accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic, while autocratic regimes are consolidating their power,” the group said.
“The number of backsliding democracies has doubled in the past decade, now accounting for a quarter of the world’s population,” IDEA added. “This includes established democracies such as the United States, but also EU Member States such as Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. More than two-thirds of the world’s population now live in backsliding democracies or autocratic regimes.”
The group also noted that in 2020, the number of countries moving in an autoritarian direction outnumbered those moving in a democratic direction.
Biden administration officials acknowledged that democracy around the globe has taken backward steps over recent years. Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested that there has been a “democratic recession,” candidly admitting to a group of human rights activists in Nairobi, Kenya, that the U.S. “is hardly immune from this challenge.”
“We’ve seen how fragile our own democracy can be,” Blinken said, referencing attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.