A new report on the state of the world's democracies makes for some grim reading. Writing in the Washington Post, the authors say the study "shows that democracy's decline is gaining momentum: One-third of the world's population lives in a backsliding democracy," and within that tally of declining democracies is the United States itself.
The outlook in the United States is especially dark, say authors Anna Luhrmann and Matthew Wilson, with experts' ratings sliding downward in "precipitous and unprecedented" fashion.
Experts lowered their estimates of democracy in the United States because they began to be skeptical that the U.S. Congress will rein in executive overreach. Similarly, experts lost faith that the opposition party can contribute to overseeing, investigating or otherwise checking the majority party. The U.S. executive branch was assessed as showing less respect for the Constitution and compliance with the judiciary, two indicators that the judicial branch can restrain the executive.
For all four indicators, the score for the United States declined. The downward trend in the United States is much worse than in other countries. In terms of government compliance with decisions of the Supreme Court, the United States used to rank among the top countries of the world — but has now declined to No. 48.
There seems little room to argue any of these things. It is self-evident that the Republican Congress has no interest in curtailing corruption within the Trump administration or, in fact, even allowing full investigation of those acts. They are steadfastly blocking opposition efforts to do so, and will apparently continue to do so regardless of what else federal investigators discover. And the Constitution, apparently, has been reduced to a petty slogan.
If there is good news it is that all of this could be reversed if Americans saw fit to boot the lackeys responsible for it. A Democratic House would almost certainly resume the investigative role that Republicans abandoned entirely, after winning a presidential election; we might even come to the conclusion that allowing foreign actors to run roughshod over our elections is something that perhaps ought to be prevented in the future. The larger problems are the role of the ultra-rich in singlehandedly funding whichever campaigns and laws they most desire and a national political press that is forever devoted to both-sidesing our political decay into smarming nothingness.
You can find the full report here and the authors' summation here; you probably don't want to read either too close to bedtime, if you can help it.
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