Report: American democracy is coming back

Disinformation related to the U.S. elections and Covid-19 has seriously affected American democracy and reversed it for the first time in history, a new report said.

But it’s not just the United States. The Sweden-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Aid found that more countries than ever are suffering from “democratic erosion”. And geopolitical and economic powers like the US, India and Brazil are experiencing a more severe and deliberate decline known as a “democratic relapse”.

the 2021 Global State of Democracy The report released on Monday is the last to raise alarms about the decline of democracy around the world, and particularly in the US. That downward trend became even more worrying at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, when government inaction or mishandling made many problems worse, the 80-page report said.

International IDEA, an intergovernmental organization committed to promoting democracy worldwide, has published its report “Global State of Democracy” since 2016. The latest iteration found that the number of people living in vulnerable or undemocratic countries was higher than ever.

More than 30 percent of the world’s population live in countries – including the United States – with relapsed democracies, the report said. Together with the regions under undemocratic or authoritarian regimes, these countries make up 70 percent of the world’s population. Only 9 percent of the world’s population live in high-performing democracies.

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“The quality of democracy is on a broad front a clearly visible downward trend,” says the report. “And all of this happens as authoritarian systems intensify their repressive practices and make increasingly brazen attempts to silence their critics and distort the way democracies work.”

According to the report, the process of democratic relapse is often insidious and takes an average of nine years from the beginning of the decline to the total collapse of democracy or a return to democratic health.

According to the report, the spread of disinformation and increasing political polarization are the main reasons for the decline of democracy. Both factors contributed to the downward trend in the United States. And when geopolitical and economic powerhouses like the US decline, it can have global repercussions.

For example, the baseless allegations of electoral fraud made by former President Donald Trump during the 2020 election had spillover effects in countries like Brazil, Mexico, Myanmar and Peru, the report said.

“The integrity of the elections is increasingly being called into question, even in established democracies, often without evidence,” the report said. In the United States, electoral disinformation has undermined confidence in the electoral process, which ultimately led to the January 6th uprising in the Capitol.

Global democracy is now at a crossroads, the report concludes. On the one hand, increasing authoritarianism threatens the survival of democratic governance. On the other hand, many governments are working to adapt and revitalize democracy in order to meet these new challenges.

“To address current challenges and create the conditions for more sustainable, inclusive and accountable reconstruction, democracies need to reaffirm their strengths and show the world how and why democratic governance is the best option,” the report said. “This is a time for democratic actors and institutions to be courageous and push the boundaries of the democratic project.”

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