“Things deteriorated so dramatically under Trump, in fact, that the United States no longer technically qualifies as a democracy. Citing the Center for Systemic Peace’s ‘Polity’ data set — the one the CIA task force has found to be most helpful in predicting instability and violence — Barbara Walter writes that the United States is now an “anocracy,” somewhere between a democracy and an autocratic state.
“’We are no longer the world’s oldest continuous democracy,’ Walter writes. ‘That honor is now held by Switzerland, followed by New Zealand, and then Canada. We are no longer a peer to nations like Canada, Costa Rica and Japan, which are all rated a +10 on the Polity index.’
“U.S. democracy had received the Polity index’s top score of 10, or close to it, for much of its history. But in the five years of the Trump era, it tumbled precipitously into the anocracy zone; by the end of his presidency, the U.S. score had fallen to a 5, making the country a partial democracy for the first time since 1800.
Dropping five points in five years greatly increases the risk of civil war (six points in three years would qualify as “high risk’ of civil war).”
“A partial democracy is three times as likely to experience civil war as a full democracy,” Walter writes. “A country standing on this threshold — as America is now, at +5 — can easily be pushed toward conflict through a combination of bad governance and increasingly undemocratic measures that further weaken its institutions.”
“Others have reached similar findings. The Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance put the United States on a list of ‘backsliding democracies’ in a report last month. ‘The United States, the bastion of global democracy, fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself,’ the report said.
“And a new survey by the academic consortium Bright Line Watch found that 17 percent of those who identify strongly as Republicans support the use of violence to restore Trump to power, and 39 percent favor doing everything possible to prevent Democrats from governing effectively.”