Distrust in politicians is one of the reasons behind Brexit and Trump's win, the report claims
The Democracy Index, a report which ranks global systems of government, found Donald Trump’s historic election win was the result of reduced popular confidence in government, which has slipped to historic lows in the US.
The status of the US has been downgraded from a full democracy to a flawed one by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), who produced the report.
Britain’s democracy was ranked 16th for the third year running in the list of full democracies, while Norway was ranked first.
North Korea came bottom of the table of 167 nations, while of the 57 of the countries branded “flawed democracies”, 17 are EU members.
The report claims Brexit and Trump’s election share a number of parallels, with the electorate’s defiance of the political establishment, the rebellions against “out-of-touch elites” and the “culmination of a long-term trend of declining popular trust in government institutions, political parties and politicians” among the key reasons behind the landmark results.
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According to the report, Brexit and Trump’s election win shows “that society’s marginalised and forgotten voters, often working-class and blue-collar, do not share the same values as the dominant political elite and are demanding a voice of their own—and if the mainstream parties will not provide it, they will look elsewhere.
“This is the main lesson for political leaders facing election in Europe in 2017 and beyond.”
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In Europe and the US, the political class seems increasingly out of touch with the people they purport to represent and often seems to express contempt for sections of the electorate
Brexit is also heralded for reengaging voters with democracy, with the EIU finding that “a 21st-century record turnout of 72.2 per cent in the June 2016 Brexit referendum, compared with average turnouts of 63 per cent in the four general elections since 2001, revealed a rise in popular engagement and participation that boosted the UK's score in 2016.
"The UK is in 16th place in the global ranking. The long-term trend of declining political participation and growing cynicism about politics in the UK seemed to have been reversed. There has also been a significant increase in membership of political parties over the past year."
Report editor Joan Hoey said Brexit and Trump’s surprise victory were linked as they both indicated a desire for major change in the existing state of affairs.
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She said: "The backlash was the culmination of a longstanding trend of deterioration in the quality of democracy in the US and Europe, which is manifested in declining trust, falling popular participation and the erosion of civil liberties.
"The US has been downgraded because of a further erosion of trust in government and elected officials.
“This is not a consequence of Donald Trump. On the contrary, the election of Mr Trump as US president was in large part a consequence of the longstanding problems of democracy in the US."
The report continues: “In Europe and the US, the political class seems increasingly out of touch with the people they purport to represent and often seems to express contempt for sections of the electorate.
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“Hillary Clinton put half of Mr Trump’s voters in her “basket of deplorables”.
“In the UK, Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party (Ukip) picked up support from workers in the Midlands and the north of England who no longer feel much connection with the Labour Party, the traditional party of the working class.
“Mr Trump deliberately drew on the popular revolt against the political order epitomised by the Brexit vote. He visited the UK the morning after the vote and hailed the result as signifying ‘independence day’.”