The first year of the Trump administration has seen increased democratic decline around the world, according to Freedom House.
In its Freedom in the World 2018 report, the independent watchdog found that “democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades in 2017,” citing the United States’ withdrawal from its historic role as a “champion and an exemplar of democracy” as one of the causes.
As the role of the United States as an advocate for democracy around the globe has weakened, authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China have gained global influence and increased repression at home. Overall, the report found that 71 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties while only 35 registered gains.
This is not the first year the organization has observed democratic decline around the world. In fact, 2017 was the 12th consecutive year of the trend. Democracy in the United States has been declining over the last seven years, but this year’s report noted an “accelerated” decline in 2017, which they attributed to Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Trump administration’s violations of ethical standards, and a lack of transparency.