The United States has been added to an annual list of “backsliding” democracies for the first time, according to the International IDEA thinktank, citing a “visible deterioration” that started in 2019.
According to the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, more than one in every four people live in a deteriorating democracy, a figure that climbs to more than two in every three when authoritarian or “hybrid” regimes are included.
“This year we coded the United States as backsliding for the first time, but our data suggest that the backsliding episode began at least in 2019,” it said in its report, during the Trump presidency.
Alexander Hudson, a co-author of the report, said: “The United States is a high-performing democracy, and even improved its performance in indicators of impartial administration (corruption and predictable enforcement) in 2020. However, the declines in civil liberties and checks on government indicate that there are serious problems with the fundamentals of democracy.”
The report says: “A historic turning point came in 2020-21 when former president Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results in the United States.”
In addition, Hudson said that the police shooting of George Floyd resulted in a “decline in the quality of freedom of association and assembly during the summer of protests in 2020.”
International IDEA based its ratings on 50 years of democratic indices in around 160 nations, categorizing them as democracies (including “backsliding”), “hybrid” governments, and authoritarian regimes.
“The visible deterioration of democracy in the United States, as seen in the increasing tendency to contest credible election results, the efforts to suppress participation (in elections), and the runaway polarization … is one of the most concerning developments,” said the organization’s secretary general, Kevin Casas-Zamora.
He warned of a knock-on effect, noting: “The violent contestation of the 2020 election without any evidence of fraud has been replicated, in different ways, in places as diverse as Myanmar, Peru and Israel.”
Backsliding democracies have more than quadrupled in the last decade, accounting for a fourth of the world’s population. Along with “established democracies” like the United Nations, the list includes EU member states Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia.
Ukraine and North Macedonia, who were on the list last year, were removed this year after their conditions improved. Mali and Serbia were dropped off the list because they were no longer recognized democracies.
While Myanmar transitioned from a democracy to an authoritarian dictatorship, Afghanistan and Mali transitioned from hybrid governments to this category.
In 2020, nations on the verge of authoritarianism will outnumber those on the verge of democratization for the sixth year in a row. This tendency is expected to continue in 2021.
According to the group’s preliminary estimate for 2021, the globe will have 98 democracies – the fewest in many years – as well as 20 hybrid governments, including Russia, Morocco, and Turkey, and 47 authoritarian regimes, including China, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Iran.
When backsliding democracies are added to hybrid and authoritarian governments, “we are talking about 70% of the population in the world”, Casas-Zamora said. “That tells you that there is something fundamentally serious happening with the quality of democracy.”
According to the research, the trend toward democratic degradation has “become more acute and worrying” since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic.
“Some countries, particularly Hungary, India, the Philippines and the USA, have (imposed) measures that amount to democratic violations – that is, measures that were disproportionate, illegal, indefinite or unconnected to the nature of the emergency,” it says.
Casas-Zamora said: “The pandemic has certainly accelerated and magnified some of the negative trends, particularly in places where democracy and the rule of law were ailing before the pandemic.”
In May of 2020, two civil rights groups filed federal lawsuits against the Trump administration on behalf of George Floyd demonstrators who were assaulted in Washington D.C. The American Civil Liberties Union (UCLU) and Black Lives Matter (BLM) both have called the attack on protesters outside the White House and Lafayette Square for a photo-op at St. John’s Church “unconstitutional” and have said it was a “criminal attack.”
BREAKING: Together with @WashLaw4CR @LawyersComm, @ACLU-DC is taking Trump to court for firing tear gas on protesters outside the @WhiteHouse. We represent @DMVBlackLives & 5 individuals. https://t.co/vnPNKGXy63
— ACLU of the District of Columbia (@ACLU_DC) June 4, 2020
Trump has been accused of violating the constitutional rights of peaceful protesters on Monday evening at Lafayette Square. Officers launched flash-bang shells, smoke canisters, and chemical irritants into the crowd of demonstrators. The use of force was used to clear the way for President Trump and his entourage to walk to St. John’s Church. The church was set on fire on May 31, 2020.
St. John’s Episcopal Church is located in the Lafayette Square area of Washington D.C. The church opened on October 27, 1816, and has a long history. Since the church opened every person who has has been President of the United States has attended the church.
According to the lawsuits filed by UCLU and BLM in court, they filed lawsuits for violations of the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from regulating freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the right to peaceably assemble.
The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution is also part of the Bill of Rights, which involves search and seizure. It requires that warrants issued by a judge or magistrate and probable cause must be. There are times of extenuating circumstances that allow law enforcement not to use a warrant. The Supreme Court ruled that extenuating circumstances that do not need a warrant including motor vehicles, incident to a lawful arrest, border searches, foreign intelligence surveillance, and searches in public schools.
The Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde diocesan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is “outraged” at the president’s behavior. Bishop Mariann Budde said, “the President used a Bible and one of the churches of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.”Reverend Buddle continued that President Trump, “sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the churchyard.”
We are followers of Jesus. In no way do we support the President’s incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation. We stand with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd through the sacred act of peaceful protest.
— Mariann Budde (@Mebudde) June 2, 2020
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday wanted to show support to the protesters and had “Black Lives Matter” painted in huge yellow letters across 16th street, which leads straight to the White House. Mayor Muriel Bowser also announced that she renamed the sections of 16th Street as “Black Lives Matter Plaza”
The section of 16th street in front of the White House is now officially “Black Lives Matter Plaza”. pic.twitter.com/bbJgAYE35b
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) June 5, 2020
Mayor Muriel Bowser has also requested that Present Trump withdraw the military from Washington D.C.
I request that @realDonaldTrump withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from our city. pic.twitter.com/AvaJfQ0mxP
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) June 5, 2020
Nationwide protests and riots began May 26, 2020, in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd, 45, an African American man who was killed by four police officers. Derek Chauvin, a white, Minneapolis police officer was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for killing George Floyd after he knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao were charged in Floyd’s death.