Jan 17, 2018

Report: U.S. democracy has "sharpest one-year drop" in 40 years

Data: Freedom House; Chart: Axios Visuals

A sobering "freeze frame" report was published by Freedom House, a watchdog group based in D.C., pulling together several factors that add up to "the retreat of the United States as both a champion and an exemplar of democracy." 

The global picture: Of 195 countries, 88 (45%) were rated Free, 58 (30%) Partly Free, and 49 (25%) Not Free.

  • The annual report finds "democracy is in retreat around the world" for the 12th year in a row.
  • "This year, this includes the United States, which in 2017, experienced [its] sharpest one-year drop since we began doing the survey more than 40 years ago."
  • "The United States has experienced a series of setbacks in the conduct of elections and criminal justice over the past decade — under leadership from both major political parties — but in 2017 its core institutions were attacked by an administration that rejects established norms of ethical conduct."
  • Go deeper: Their fuller U.S. scoring

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U.S. cities crack down on protesters

The scene near the 5th police precinct during a demonstration calling for justice for George Floyd in Minneapolis on Saturday. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

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The state of play: Hundreds have already been arrested as tensions continue to rise between protesters and local governments. Protesters are setting police cars on fire as freeways remain blocked and windows are shattered, per the Washington Post. Law enforcement officials are using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse crowds and send protesters home.

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Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

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The big picture: Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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A firework explodes behind a line of police officers next to the Colorado State Capitol during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Denver on May 30. Photo : Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd continued nationwide into early Sunday.

The big picture: Police responded over the weekend with force, in cities ranging from Salt Lake City to Atlanta to Des Moines, Houston to Detroit, Milwaukee to Washington, D.C., Denver and Louisville. Large crowds gathered in Minneapolis on Saturday for the fifth day in a row.