The U.S. is no longer a "full democracy."
The Economist Intelligence Unit recently released its annual Democracy Index. For the first time, the group downgraded the U.S. from a "full democracy" to a "flawed" one — joining over 50 other countries with that ranking.
The index doesn't report on all countries, but of the ones it tracked last year, 19 had a "full democracy," 57 had a "flawed democracy," 40 were considered "hybrid regimes" and 51 were classified as "authoritarian regimes."
The EIU determines that rank from a mix of opinion surveys, voter turnout and data collected by experts. Countries are judged on topics like electoral process and how the government functions.
You might think the downgrade has to do with the election of President Donald Trump.
But it's actually the result of a long-term trend of declining faith in the U.S. government. In a nutshell, the report says so-called "political elites" have become more and more out of touch with the people they represent — which isn't exactly great for building trust.
The U.K. experienced something very similar which, according to the report, is what led in part to the Brexit.
That's not to say Trump is totally out of the picture here. The EIU suggests he was able to capitalize on public dislike of Hillary Clinton and other political elites, as well as a lack of voter turnout, to win the election.
But the U.S. falling to a "flawed democracy" has been a long time coming. And The Economist predicts politics as we've known it for the past several decades won't be going back to "normal" anytime soon.