For the first time, the United States has been downgraded from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” by the Economic Intelligence Unit, a group that annually measures the strength of democracies across the world. According to the EIU, the country’s decline as a liberal democracy can be attributed to the “further erosion of trust in government and elected officials”—the same factors that led to the election of President Donald Trump.
The report found similar score declines and patterns of lower “popular confidence in political elites and institution” throughout Europe, especially in eastern Europe. Shortly after the US presidential election, one Harvard lecturer warned that the United States and European liberal democracies were under such a serious threat of a democratic decline that current trends resembled Venezuela’s political climate before its own crisis.
The findings, which were released on Wednesday, come amid increased alarm over Trump’s continued demonstration of authoritarian tendencies, as he issues gag orders across federal agencies and signs an expanding list of executive orders during his first few days in office.
The new commander-in-chief added fuel to such concerns this week when he repeated the debunked claim that voter fraud led him to lose the 2016 popular vote. Government officials and voting experts slammed the president for the assertion, saying any investigation into the falsehood will only further undermine voter confidence in future elections and will likely lead the new administration to make policy changes that make it even more difficult for many people to vote.