The Falling Democracy


Designed by Carmen Miskel


Democratic rights have been the foundation of America for centuries, and we, as a people, have been upholding these rights and preserving such liberties since then. However, as we progress into a society that is more and more politically divided, we are straying from the path of democracy.


The European think tank known as International IDEA, the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, has five core pillars that define democracy: “representative government, fundamental rights, checks on government, impartial administration and participatory engagement.” The current trends in the United States are not following these pillars entirely. One large shift in the United States was the insurrection on January 6th of last year. After this now-infamous riot, the United States began to shift towards authoritarianism, which was amplified by the pandemic. Even at the global scale, in 2020, more countries were moving towards authoritarianism rather than democracy!


Why are we sliding back? Most of these results and upsetting trends started with the riot that took place on January 6th, 2021. As put by MSNBC writer Ja’han Jones, “The U.S. is becoming an increasingly antidemocratic country due to conservative attacks on free and fair elections. Specifically, the report pointed to former President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept his 2020 election loss as a ‘historic turning point’ in American democracy.” This degradation of democracy can be seen in our past several elections, which have consisted of accusations of fraud, misinformation, and even tampering with the results.


This trend is not unique to our country. Ja’han Jones continues his analysis, saying that, “for the fifth consecutive year, the number of countries moving towards authoritarianism is approximately three times as high as the number moving towards democracy.” We are setting a negative global precedent that must be fixed. Over time, we as citizens have become desensitized to the corruption in the government, and the seemingly piled-up scandals, but for the sake of our democracy, this must change. With the pandemic, an influx of bad news has become a social norm; we hear it all the time and move on with our lives. However, when it comes to the collapse of our democracy, we need to step back and absorb everything that is happening.


Though the world that we live in is confusing, one thing is clear: change is necessary. In the past several years, the country has been divided in many harmful ways. These past two elections have been extremely intense, and the 2020 election had the highest voter turnout in our history, which can be attributed to the political polarization and threat to democracy that currently pervades our country.


The only way forward is to be more open to the opinions of others, and to make sure that the voice of the public is not only heard, but acted upon. In order to reverse this unfortunate trend, the citizens of the United States need to push forward in order to preserve what took so much grit and effort to achieve.