If you’ve attended any sort of protest or rally in the last few years, you’ve probably heard this callback chant. As we repeatedly hear that our democracy needs saving, we must first ask, what does democracy look like?

Our form of government is easily distinguishable from monarchies, dictatorships, and Communism, but we are surprisingly vulnerable to authoritarian influences that could degrade our status as global promoters of democracy. According to the Democracy Index created by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the United States has recently been downgraded to a “flawed democracy.” In its annual survey, which also includes hybrid and authoritarian regimes, the EIU measures indicators in categories that include diversity, civil liberties and political culture.

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