CBS Local – The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released it’s annual Democracy Index, grading each country’s democracy. Previously, the United States perennially received the ‘full democracy’ delineation, the highest grade, that is until now.
The EIU has downgraded America to ‘flawed democracy’ from ‘full democracy’.
The EIU grades through five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture. The four conclusions the EIU doles out is full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime.
To be given ‘full democracy’ the countries must score 8 points. Last year, the United States just scraped by with 8.05 but fell under the threshold this year with 7.98.
“The U.S. has been teetering on the brink of becoming a flawed democracy for several years, and even if there had been no presidential election in 2016, its score would have slipped below 8.00,” the report said.
The report blamed public confidence in government, which has plummeted to historic lows in the country.
“Trust in political institutions is an essential component of well-functioning democracies,” the report said. “Yet surveys by Pew, Gallup and other polling agencies have confirmed that public confidence in government has slumped to historic lows in the U.S. This has had a corrosive effect on the quality of democracy.”
It wasn’t just the United States who dropped, of course, the EIU said that more than half of the 167 countries the index graded dropped.
Scandinavian countries were the real winners, as the top three scores went to Norway, Iceland and Sweden, respectively. The bottom tier of authoritarian regime included North Korea, Syria, Chad and Central African Republic.