The United States has been described as a democracy in decline for the first time in an annual list by a Stockholm-based think tank after a year marked by disputed election results and the passage of restrictive voting laws.
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance said the U.S., despite being “the bastion of global democracy,” is undergoing a democratic backslide for the first time since the group began collecting data regarding global democracy more than 20 years ago, according to International IDEA’s annual Global State of Democracy report.
The U.S. found a place on the list after it “fell victim to authoritarian tendencies,” according to International IDEA, which listed election integrity—and specifically, former President Donald Trump’s insistence that the election was “stolen”—as a key factor in the determination, along with challenges to voter access.
Trump’s unfounded yet tireless allegations of voter fraud marked “a historic turning point” for democracy in the U.S. according to the think tank, which described a breakdown of trust in the electoral process as the culminating factor in violent rioting in the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
Trump’s baseless accusations have also had “spillover effects” internationally, according to the report, and politicians have raised similar allegations of voter fraud without evidence in countries like Brazil, Mexico, Myanmar and Peru.
The report’s authors also expressed concern for the wave of voting restriction bills passed in states across the U.S., which researchers say disproportionately affect minorities and will prevent them from casting ballots.
The International IDEA report did name one U.S. measure it believes will help improve democracy in the country: the new child tax credit. The monthly credit is expected to slash the national poverty rate by nearly half and raise more than 4 million American children out of poverty this year, according to the report.