The U.S. Was Just Added to List of Backsliding Democracies for the First Time—and People Aren't Surprised
Democrats celebrated last year after the 2020 election saw the party regain the White House and razor-thin majorities in both congressional chambers—the first Democratic trifecta in over a decade.
But the joy of this victory was soon marred by the GOP's response and by stalled productivity imposed by congressional norms.
Under the guise of baseless widespread election fraud claims, Republican legislatures across the nation introduced election bills, suppressing likely-Democratic voters and communities of color. In the year since the 2020 election, 17 states have passed restrictive voting measures into law, practically all of which strengthen the Republican party's national election odds.
To make matters worse, congressional Democrats are practically helpless to pass voting rights legislation thanks to the Senate filibuster, which imposes a 60 vote rule for most legislation to advance to debate, effectively granting the minority party the ability to decide what passes and doesn't. Efforts to reform or eliminate the filibuster have been effectively dashed by conservative Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
These were two of the reasons cited by the International IDEA think tank, which recently added the United States of America to its list of "backsliding" democracies for the first time.
One of the report's authors, Alexander Hudson, said of the decision:
"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."
Though this was the first year the U.S. was added to the list, the report indicates the backsliding began as early as 2019.
It was not a welcome development, but not a surprising one either.
It's easy for some to forget how very young our multi-racial, multi-ethnic democracy is and how susceptible it is to reverting to the white supremacist order that defined this country for over 400 years (and never really disappeared).https://t.co/WOhebSthyp
— Janai Nelson (@JNelsonLDF) November 23, 2021
So thoughtful observers have been noting US democracy was backsliding since at least 2001, but good to see they've finally caught on... https://t.co/cSIdeJVVYs
— Wearing Masks still saves lives 🌹 🏨🇵🇱 🌍🏴☠️ (@eee_eff) November 25, 2021
This is super scary and bad https://t.co/39FfsFbK8R
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) November 23, 2021
Are you surprised? https://t.co/PLTzymTUvR pic.twitter.com/UtXlZMsgnl
— Phyllis (@Pmo052295) November 24, 2021
Unfortunately this is true— https://t.co/gtvaPQ3s9E
— dominique6138 (@dominique6138) November 23, 2021
“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."
A sitting president lying for months and instigating an insurrection is a bad thing? SHOCKER https://t.co/3sqJTGFV8R
— The New Evangelicals (@newvangelicals) November 23, 2021
The report describes former President Donald Trump's denial of the 2020 election results as a "historic turning point" for the strength of American democracy.
People blamed him and the GOP's growing embrace of fascism for the report's findings.
You can actually take credit for this one, @GOP. https://t.co/QedhPhqwpw
— Kerri Levine #DefendDemocracy #Resister (@KerriLevine19) November 23, 2021
@realLizUSA We can thank traitor insurrectionist violence inciting Donald Trump for this: https://t.co/ebKCqjF7Hu
— ChloeM (@ChloeWEARMASK) November 22, 2021
Began in 2019...? 2019??? More like the 1970s, when conservative Christians started to influence national politics, turning the Republican Party into the corrupt, anti-intellectual shitheap it is today. https://t.co/1WLCQ5hsbe
— Kody Palma (@kodyomo) November 22, 2021
Thanks to Trump and the GOP along with their oligarchs https://t.co/aHFGLSkAXv
— Paula Dockery (@Paula_Dockery) November 22, 2021
The future the GOP wants in America: the veneer of democracy for white Christian minority rule. https://t.co/IltvIAvYA1
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) November 22, 2021
The full report is available online here.