Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) during their talks at the Kremlin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov via Getty Images

"Organizations that monitor the health of democracies are converging around a similar idea: On average, the world is becoming less democratic for the first time in several decades," Bloomberg's Lauren Leatherby and Mira Rojanasakul report.

Why it matters: "Would-be autocrats are taking note of the tools other leaders have implemented to tighten their grip on power. Emboldened leaders have contributed to the steep drop in democracy scores in many countries."

The details: "The surprising twist is that it’s happening as more and more countries hold elections," including places like Hungary and Poland.

  • The U.S. became less democratic between 2015 and 2017, "stemming primarily from weakening constraints on the executive," in the V-Dem Liberal Democracy Index, published at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
  • "In contrast to military coups or violent revolutions in the 20th century or the foreign invasions that toppled democracies ahead of World War II, most countries that are now experiencing a democratic decline have elected leaders."
  • "The integrity of those elections has been called into question at times, but citizens in many countries have gravitated toward these strongmen in the first place. And once elected, leaders keep up regular elections."

Go deeper: 2018: The year of the strongman

Go deeper

2 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 3 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.
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  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.