The United States of America is now considered a flawed democracy. According to the 2018 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the U.S. is ranked 25th out of 165 sovereign independent countries and two territories. The Democracy Index, which started more than 10 years ago in 2006, defines a flawed democracy as a democracy where despite free and fair elections as well as civil rights and liberties there are “significant weaknesses” in other democratic characteristics such as problems in institutional governance, a poor political culture, and lower levels of political participation in public life.
Examples of America’s flawed democracy could be found in examples such as government shutdowns that have divided the legislative Congress and the executive Presidency of different political parties, relative overall low voter turnout, and a lack of electoral reform.
The few countries ranked overall as full democracies are Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Ireland, Finland, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Great Britain, Uruguay, Austria, Mauritius, Malta, Spain, and Costa Rica. The United States is ranked as a flawed democracy alongside countries such as Portugal, France, Belgium, Cyprus, Israel, Taiwan, Italy, Japan, and South Korea.
This is not the first time the United States has been criticized for its current political status. A recent 2014 study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page showed that the North American country is now considered an oligarchy where the few has more policy power and influence than the average citizen.
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