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Is Democracy in Decline? Tracking Developments Over the Past Twenty Years

Headlines concerning the outlook for democracy generally lean toward two conclusions: it is in dangerous decline and the free world is under attack. At first glance, such statements are cause for concern. Will long-time democratic states like the U.S., France, and the U.K. turn authoritarian? Are democratic freedoms soon to be stripped forever? The short answer is no, the age of democracy is not over, and it is unlikely that the values that make up the common conception of democracy will disappear in an instant. While democracy has faltered in some countries over the last twenty years, it is not in significant decline.