There's Good News and There's Bad News. Freedom House Ratings, 2021.

Democracy is in decline around the world. Where it was strong it remains strong - with one glaring exception. 

Canada (98) again did very well in the ratings, no surprise there. Not as well as Finland (100) or Sweden (100) or Norway (100) and just a tad behind New Zealand (99) but well.

Most of Western Europe scored well. So did Australia. 

Then there's the behemoth on our border, our extremely long and undefended border. Over the last decade the United States has sustained an 11 point drop, from 94 to 83, putting it in the worst 25 nations in democratic decline.  The US is tied with Romania (83) but far behind Melania's Slovenia (95).

The final weeks of the Trump presidency featured unprecedented attacks on one of the world’s most visible and influential democracies. After four years of condoning and indeed pardoning official malfeasance, ducking accountability for his own transgressions, and encouraging racist and right-wing extremists, the outgoing president openly strove to illegally overturn his loss at the polls, culminating in his incitement of an armed mob to disrupt Congress’s certification of the results. Trump’s actions went unchecked by most lawmakers from his own party, with a stunning silence that undermined basic democratic tenets. Only a serious and sustained reform effort can repair the damage done during the Trump era to the perception and reality of basic rights and freedoms in the United States.

The year leading up to the assault on the Capitol was fraught with other episodes that threw the country into the global spotlight in a new way. The politically distorted health recommendations, partisan infighting, shockingly high and racially disparate coronavirus death rates, and police violence against protesters advocating for racial justice over the summer all underscored the United States’ systemic dysfunctions and made American democracy appear fundamentally unstable. Even before 2020, Trump had presided over an accelerating decline in US freedom scores, driven in part by corruption and conflicts of interest in the administration, resistance to transparency efforts, and harsh and haphazard policies on immigration and asylum that made the country an outlier among its Group of Seven peers.

But President Trump’s attempt to overturn the will of the American voters was arguably the most destructive act of his time in office. His drumbeat of claims—without evidence—that the electoral system was ridden by fraud sowed doubt among a significant portion of the population, despite what election security officials eventually praised as the most secure vote in US history. Nationally elected officials from his party backed these claims, striking at the foundations of democracy and threatening the orderly transfer of power.

Lest we tend to get carried away, Freedom House has registered a modest, 1 point, decline in Canadian democracy. In other words, we could be doing better. 

Tuvalu, which rising sea levels may soon erase, scored a very respecticable 93, while equally endangered Vanuatu, may her memory outlast her land mass came in at 82.

The most worrisome slide occured in the 'world's largest democracy', India. The report zeroes in on one guy, Modi.

While India is a multiparty democracy, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has presided over discriminatory policies and increased violence affecting the Muslim population. The constitution guarantees civil liberties including freedom of expression and freedom of religion, but harassment of journalists, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other government critics has increased significantly under the current regime. Muslims, scheduled castes (Dalits), and scheduled tribes (Adivasis) remain economically and socially marginalized.

Freedom House goes out of its way to stress that it accepts no funding from any government.


  1. I am amused .
    Of the ten thousand important issues decided
    for me by others
    My choice between meatsack A and meatsack B
    every 4 years
    whose polices are 99% the same
    makes it as a democracy?
    This while corporations influence policy daily?
    Democracy has become an empty shell to sell corruption to the people
    Actual democracy would give you a very different world.

  2. Canada at 98?
    That destroys the credibility of the whole index.


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