Authoritarian modes of governing have steadily increased over the past 10 years. A number of autocracies have intensified their repressive tactics, while several democracies – many of which were once classified as consolidated – have tampered with fundamental rights and the rule of law. Despite a few developments to the contrary, the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) 2020 highlights the ongoing decline of democracy around the globe.
The presentation of BTI results focused on the resembling patterns of dismantling democracy in (highly) defective democracies such as Hungary, Moldova, the Philippines, Serbia or Zambia and regimes in which this process has been so pronounced that they are now categorized as autocracies in the BTI, such as Bangladesh, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Turkey or Uganda. It looked at the typical sequence to an authoritarian deconstruction of democratic institutions from within, from the purposeful undermining of oversight institutions, attacking the media and civil society to manipulating the electoral system, in order to examine the resonance of these trends in the United States. The goal of the discussion is to identify the features and underlying causes of this erosion, and to suggest promising counter-strategies.