Report: U.S. Continues Its Plunge In Global Democracy Rankings
Democracy in the United States officially began its decline in 2016, when the country fell below the threshold for a “full democracy”, and the trend has not let up in the years since, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2019 Democracy Index.
Though North America continues to hold the highest average score of any region in the Index — coming in at 8.59 — it is Canada that anchors this achievement. America’s neighbor to the north was ranked 7th in the world, alongside Demark, while the U.S. eked out a less impressive rank of 25th.
And while the decline of American democracy predates President Donald Trump, his presidency has only worsened the situation.
The EIU noted that “popular dissatisfaction with how democracy is working in practice, both in terms of government dysfunction and a lack of political representation by the two main parties, has grown in recent years.” America remains entrenched in political polarization and hyperpartisanship, only serving to further undermine “the function of state institutions.”
The primary cause of America’s drop in status, according to the report, is a decline in the functioning of government category.
“Public frustration with institutions has been building for years; according to Gallup polls, the number of Americans who approve of the way that Congress (the legislature) is handling its job fell to 21% in 2019, compared with 40% in 2000,” the report states, with increased partisanship in Washington noted as the primary factor.
Though Trump promised as a candidate that he would work to solve the partisan nature of national politics, his actions and words have only served to worsen the situation, the EIU reported — particularly due to the way he bipasses Congress to achieve his policy goals.
The report’s analysis of the United States ended on a positive note, however: “The US scores relatively well for electoral process and pluralism, and its score for political participation remains higher than it was in the past, reflecting greater representation of women in the 116th Congress (2019-21).”