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America’s Democratic Dysfunction

Americans’ mistrust in elections and distrust of each other are symptomatic of deep-seated cultural, structural, and institutional problems. Until these are resolved, the crisis of American democracy will persist, and voters will continue to demand new kinds of solutions – be they democratic, technocratic, or authoritarian.

MENLO PARK – For almost 20 years, the world has been in the midst of a “democratic recession,” with illiberal, nativist, and populist movements garnering increasing support – even political power – around the world. Less than 8% of the world’s population now lives in what scholars call a “full democracy.” While four in ten people are ruled by authoritarian regimes, nearly as many (38%) live in “flawed democracies,” a category that now even includes the United States, since the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded it in 2016.