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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8 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.