- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The U.S. has been downgraded to a “flawed democracy” in the latest world rankings by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which says while President Trump’s election didn’t cause the slide, it was a symptom.

The EIU labeled 2016 the “Revenge of the ‘deplorables,’ ” adopting the term Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton used to describe supporters of Mr. Trump.

Voters across Europe and in the U.S. upended longstanding frameworks, with Britain’s vote to withdraw from the European Union and Mr. Trump’s election the chief examples, said Joan Hoey, editor of the EIU’s new report.

But rather than expressions of democracy, she said those votes represented a retreat.

“The backlash was the culmination of a longstanding trend of deterioration in the quality of democracy in the US and Europe, which is manifested in declining trust, falling popular participation and the erosion of civil liberties,” she said.

The EIU uses a ratings scale to judge democracies on a 10-point scale, and said the U.S. fell from 8.05 in 2015 to 7.98 last year — below the score of 8 that’s needed to be considered a full democracy in the group’s rankings.

“The U.S. has been downgraded because of a further erosion of trust in government and elected officials,” Ms. Hoey said. “This is not a consequence of Donald Trump. On the contrary, the election of Mr Trump as U.S. president was in large part a consequence of the longstanding problems of democracy in the U.S.”

Despite the “Brexit” vote, the EIU still ranks the U.K. as a full democracy in its latest paper.

The U.S., though, slipped because of increasing voter distrust in public institutions and partisan gridlock in Washington, the EIU said.

The main differences between the U.S. and U.K. scores were on civil liberties and “political culture.”

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