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