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brave new world

Global watchdog rules that the U.S. is not a full democracy anymore

The United States of America is no longer a full democracy, the Economist Intelligence Unit has ruled. The freedom watchdog demoted the U.S. from "full democracy," the highest level of freedom, to "flawed democracy" on Wednesday. It is the first time ever that the U.S. has dropped below being a "full democracy," CNBC reports. The global Democracy Index has two lower distinctions available after "flawed": "hybrid regime" and the lowest, "authoritarian regime."

The Democracy Index makes its evaluation on 167 countries in the world by assessing five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation, and political culture. Scoring above an 8.00 qualifies a nation as a full democracy, but the U.S. dipped to 7.98 from 8.05 in 2016, CNBC reports.

The report made clear that the change in America's number is not due to President Donald Trump alone. "The U.S. has been teetering on the brink of becoming a flawed democracy for several years, and even if there had been no presidential election in 2016, its score would have slipped below 8.00," the report said. "Trust in political institutions is an essential component of well-functioning democracies. Yet surveys by Pew, Gallup, and other polling agencies have confirmed that public confidence in government has slumped to historic lows in the U.S. This has had a corrosive effect on the quality of democracy."

Full democracies in 2016 included Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Other flawed democracies included France, Singapore, South Korea, and India.