America joins international watchlist of 'backsliding democracies' for the first time: report
Donald Trump (AFP)

On Monday, CBS News and Agence France-Presse reported that a major international think tank has added the United States to its list of "backsliding democracies" for the first time.

"The United States has joined an annual list of 'backsliding' democracies for the first time, the International IDEA think-tank said on Monday, pointing to a 'visible deterioration' that it said began in 2019," said they report. "Globally, more than one in four people live in a backsliding democracy, a proportion that rises to more than two in three with the addition of authoritarian or 'hybrid' regimes, according to the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance."

"The United States is a high-performing democracy, and even improved its performance in indicators of impartial administration (corruption and predictable enforcement) in 2020," said report author Alexander Hudson in his statement to AFP. "However, the declines in civil liberties and checks on government indicate that there are serious problems with the fundamentals of democracy."

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Democracy observers have long warned of worsening problems in the U.S. political system.

In 2017, the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States from a "full democracy" to a "flawed democracy," citing the country's weak and increasingly partisan distrust of government institutions. In a flawed democracy, elections are generally free and fair but the government has weakened power to act on democratic mandates and is undermined by public non-participation or lack of confidence in the government.