US Makes the List of Regressing Democracies for the First Year

The US has been included in a yearly list of regressing democracies, citing a visible deterioration that began in 2019.

Per the Stockholm-based International Center for Democracy and Electoral Support, more than one in four people live in a failing democracy, with autocratic or “hybrid” regimes adding to the number.

According to the research, the data implies the backsliding phase started around 2019. The United States is a strong democracy; in 2020, it increased its efficiency in indices of impartial governance.

However, the erosion of civil liberties and balances of authority shows major flaws in democratic fundamentals.

Protests and Violence

A significant turning point occurred during 2020 to 2021 when outgoing President Trump challenged the validity of the US election results.

After the vigilante murder of George Floyd, Alexander Hudson, a co-author of the report, indicated a declining quality regarding liberty of organization and assembly in 2020.

International IDEA classifies countries into three groups: democracies (including “backsliding”), “hybrid” governments, and authoritarian regimes.

Hence, the violent protests of the 2020 election have been mirrored in locations like Myanmar, Peru, and Israel. Capitulating democracies now represent a fifth of the world’s population.

Along with the US, the list includes EU members, such as Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia. Last year’s list included Ukraine and North Macedonia, both of which were eliminated this year.

Mali and Serbia were removed from the list of non-democracies as well. While Myanmar transitioned from a democratic state to an authoritarian state, Afghanistan and Mali transitioned from their prior classifications as hybrid regimes.

Authoritarian Regimes are Becoming More Common

For the fifth year in a row, authoritarian countries surpassed democratic ones in 2020. International IDEA predicts the same for 2021.

As of 2021, the globe has 98 democracies, the poorest number in so many years, along with 20 hybrid regimes, including Russia, Morocco, and Turkey. The globe also has 47 autocratic governments, such as those in China, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Iran.

Adding slipping back democracies to hybrid and authoritarian regimes, Casas-Zamora, the former vice president of Costa Rica, says they are looking at approximately 70% of the world’s population.

That tells you something profoundly wrong is going on with democracy. In addition, the research states since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tendency toward democratic deterioration has “gotten more serious and concerning.”

In particular, the report notes actions taken by several nations (notably Hungary, India, the Philippines, and the United States) amounted to democratic breaches. This means they were disproportionate in scope, unlawful in duration, indefinite in continuance, and unrelated to the nature of the situation. 

Casas-Zamora said in a statement the epidemic has likely exacerbated and exaggerated some of the bad tendencies, particularly in regions where democratic values and the rule of law were already under decline before the pandemic.