Prologue (25 March 2017) Already by Donald Trump’s electoral campain, democratic forces have been put under pressure by racist, nationalistic, and anti-democratic patterns of thinking and behaving. Meanwhile a harsh cultural and institutional clash between the elected US president Trump together with his entourage at the one hand and still functioning democratic institutions and a growing civility movement at the other hand is going on. Hence the USA can be currently characterized as a handicapped democracy under autocratic pressure. A) Human rights 1. Are all inhabitants respected as free and equal citizens? The USA is often considered to be a democracy with equal rights and freedoms.  For decades many states and cities have been operating with sharp equality programs in educational institutions, and the public is quite aware of the problem of ongoing racism. And Barrack Obama, the first black president of the USA, has carefully attempted to foster equal rights and practices including the rights of native Americans - see Obama’s 2015 decision to rename the highest mountain peak in North America from Mount McKinley to Denali, the old name given by native population. Nevertheless there is still an ethnic and racial minority situation of unusual complexity in the USA. The country has historically developed in a cruel process of subduing and annihilating large parts of the native population, to the biggest part Indians. Contemporary Native Americans have a unique relationship with the United States:  They may have completely assimilated or not; they may be members of nations, tribes, or bands with formal sovereignty and treaty. Also the status of black people in the USA is partly still precarious:  After phenomenons near to slavery such as racial segregation and other forms of discrimination have been overcome not earlier than the 1960s, also nowadays distinct phenomenons of racism are given in some areas of the USA. So a justice report found systematic discrimination against African-Americans in Ferguson in the year 2015: A stream of formally illegal immigration from Mexico and Carribean States to the USA has induced  both new economic chances for the immigrants and existential problems, criminality, and low acceptance in parts of the US population.  With Donald Trump’s electoral victory, undifferentiated security strategies of kicking out illegal Mexicans and other people have been propagated. Additionally Trump has sined a ban of immigrants and even tourists from 6 prevailingly  Muslim countries. Trump’s announced programs of denaturalizing millions of illegal Mexicans and other immigrants stands for a sharp turn against equalization strategies. Trump’s motto Make America Great Again  obviously implies a program of striving for a White Race America according to racial patterns of former times. That’s why the general respect of equality and freedom for everybody in the States has gone down during Trump’s campain and hitherto happened presidency. Indeed, the currently growing resistance against Trump’s policies and government might lead to a counter-movement. Score: All Citizens Respected as Free and Equal: 60 % 2. Are there fair and free procedures? A well formulated constitution gong back until the 18th century, a long history of political elections, usually fair procedures of examination in schools and universities, and free accessible sports constitute the dominating self-concept of fair procedures in the USA. Also the separation of powers exhibits a remarkable stability and capability to resist against undemocratic offenses by president Trump and his entourage -  both at the state level and the local level. Thus President Trump’s obviously unequal ban of immigration for six countries with prevailingly Muslim populationhas been institutionally blocked so far. Nevertheless fair and free procedures cannot be ascertained as a generaly given in the USA because of some reasons: The National Security Agency (NSA) and other secret services obviously get information about everybody without any respect of any law or democratic requirement of informational autonomy.    Based on the US electional system (with high significance of private financiers), strong lobbyism practically falses formally fair procedures to a distinct degree - see particularly weapons policy, warfare exports, financial and bank policy,, energy policy, food and agricultural policy. The US show an international image of fighting against corruption in a distinguished degree and professionality - see for instance anti- corruption activities regarding FIFA.and clear and intensive activities of sanctioning insider-trading (stocks); nevertheless corruption keeps being a certain part of the social, economic, political and administrative reality in the USA. In the last years, there have been several scandals about massive phenomenons of administrative corruption respectively criminality. (For instance: kartellen-bezahlen-a-1025829.html). According to the Corruption Perception Index 2014, the USA is ranked amongst 175 countries after other OECD countries on rank 17 (Perception of lowest corruption rank 1). The fight against diverse mafia organizations has been pursued with some success during the last decades. Indeed, activities of organized crime with drug commerce, international money laundering, and forms of criminal violence go on. More than 350.000 mentally ill Americans are currently sitting not in psychiatric clinics, but in prisons, where they are open mistreated. Meanwhile Human Rights Watch (HRW) has screamed alarm: Such a callous and cruel treating of the ill people would be an injury against fundamental human rights. Score: Fair and Free Procedures: 65 % 3. Are all international borders respected? The USA was the most important country to establish the organization and the charter of United Nations (in 1945). Chapter 1, article 2, clauses 3 and 4 of this charter read as follow: 3. “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.” 4. “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations” ( US foreign policy proclaims to enforce these principles. Currently see the sanctions of the USA and other states against Russia (that has injured Ukraine’s sovereignty) and the military fight against Islamic State. The US role as world policeman, however, has turned out to be highly ambivalent, with very low respect of other nations and often ending in civil wars and terrible pity in the region - see the military US intervention in Iraq in 2003. Also the financial and military strengthening of the Afghan opposition including later Al-Khaida during the 1990s, and the continuing support of Saudi-Arabia, the main exporter of Whahabi islamistic ideology in the world, meanwhile reveals to massively worsen the global chances of freedom and peace. Extremely low respect of national borders is shown by the USA in its drone policy: In a fast increasing number of countries in Middle East, Africa and Asia (may be soon also in South America, Europe and other parts of the world), the USA claims to have a right of deploying drones against terrorism. This extremely asymmetric policy (with very low own military risks, but high risks of collateral damages amongst the population of the controlled areas) exemplarilly shows the outlined double impact: Strengthening extremism by producing hate amongst the people and legitimating even more military forces, in sum, reproducing and strengthening the logic of war. Completely missing respect of national borders has been revealed by the USA in the Vietnam War (that pointed at preventing a communist seizure of power in Vietnam). Agent Orange, one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, has been widely sprayed during this war from 1961 to 1971. This mixture of two herbicides, 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, implies heavy long term damages of health particularly of kids in Vietnam until today. It is completely open how long these damages (monstrosities and numerous other consequences) will go on in the future. The USA has never officially  accepted its own responsibility for these damages. Indeed, some international policies of US authorities such as of the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch foster the protection of human rights and fair procedures in the world. in-the-us.html Score: Respect for international borders: 45% Summed up Score: Human rights (60+65+45): 3 = 56.67 % B) Participation 1. May the people elect and recall their government? The election of the President and the Vice President of the United States is an indirect vote in which citizens cast ballots for a slate of members of the U.S. Electoral College; these electors in turn directly elect the President and Vice President. Presidential elections occur quadrennially. The nomination process, including the primary elections and the nominating conventions, is also an indirect election process, where voters cast ballots for a slate of delegates to a political party's nominating convention, who then in turn elect their party's  presidential nominee. In all states, governors are elected by the people in statewide elections. Once a governor's term has expired, he or she has to run for re-election, and will sometimes face opponents from his or her own party. That election is called a primary. Voters across the state typically register with one party or another then cast their vote for the candidate who will run as a Republican, Democrat or an Independent. Governors serve for four years once elected (Vermont and New Hampshire: two-year terms). In 38 states, governors are limited to two consecutive terms. The spectrum of candidates in that election procedures is, indeed, very limited because of a fundamental deficit: The candidates have to bring up the financial and organizational means for their campaines privately. That’s why only rich candidates and candidates able to mobilize capital for them have a chance to overcome the primaries both on the Governor level as well as on the presidential level. The resulting dependency of candidates on (big) business implies particularly big influence of economic actors and mighty lobbies on the US American political processs. Score: Electing and recalling governments by the people: 80% 2. May the people participate in current decision-making? There is no instrument of direct democracy at federal level in the USA. That constitutes a fundamental democracy deficit, particularly against the background of a practical prevalence of rich actors and powerful lobbies in the political process. At the state level and above all at the town (communal) level, in contrast, there is a vital history of direct democracy that dates from the 1630s in the New England Colonies. Many New England towns still carry on that tradition in the form of open town meetings. There are many examples of Initiatives and referendums at the state level.Indeed, over 60% of initiative activity has occurred in Arizona, California, Colorado, North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington, states that generally have lesser signature requirements than other states. Free political communication, indeed, is guaranteed by constitution (freedom of opinion, freedom of association, freedom of press a.s.f.). Also in practice, a broad spectrum of opinions is published. Indeed, there have been going on two contradictional processes: a) Policy making is professionally managed - leading to a far-reaching exclusion of the average people from current political process; b) The internet as influential basis of politically relevant information and communication has been massively rising - opening up new opportunities of expressing and publishing one’s ones’ opinions for the people. Altogether there are limited opportunities of participating in current decision-making at national level, while there is a better record at sub- national levels . Score: Participation in current decision-making: 60% 3. How representative are the people’s representations? The US American electoral system, that goes back around 250 years, implies fundamental lacks of representativity: It’s true, many private citizens run for mandates; but since the costs to run a campaign are so high, mandatory seats are practically reserved for people with lots of money and connections. There are buerocratic obstacles to participating in “general” elections - such as a specific obligation of electoral registration (that excludes parts of population that do not want to be registered). The practical organization of elections is often so poor that voters has to wait for many hours. About 2.5% of adult population is not allowed to vote because of running or past charges (with an overproportional percentage of poor and coloured people). Voter turnout in the USA is low (not seldom lower than 50%), particularly regarding poor and coloured people. The Electoral College system of the USA is a distinct majority voting system that demotivates minority voters because they have almost no chance to bring a candidate to Congress. Beyond, the system ist distinctly unrepresentative because the numbers of available seats do not strictly correspond with the numbers of population. While in large districts such as California about 600.000 people refer to one presidential elector, in the smalles states less than the half is necessary to get an elector. Accordingly, the social and ethnical representativity of the political US System is low: Relatively rich white men are clearly over-represented towards poor, coloured people and women. Score: Representativity of Congress and Government: 60% Summed up Score: Participation (80+60+60): 3 =  66.67%
C) Coordination 1. Is there guaranteed peace? Currently no civil war is going on in the USA, and terrorism is sofar under control. That’s why the country exhibits low rates of violent deaths, compared to Syria, Ukraine, and other countries suffering from wars. In longitudinal comparison, the rates of violent crime in the USA have decreased since its peaks during the first years of the 1990s. 2013/tables/4tabledatadecoverviewpdf/table_4_crime_in_the_united_states_by_region_geographic_div ision_and_state_2012-2013.xls In comparison to other OECD countries, indeed, the USA still shows exorbitantly high rates of intentional homicides: While the EU countries exhibit rates of homicide between 0.3 and 2.5 per 100.000 inhabitants, the USA exhibited a rate of 5,0 in 2013, that is the double up to 17fold incidence of the European spectrum. Regarding other indicators of violent crime (with diverse statistical issues of comparison), the differences are not as distinct; but US internal statistics show for the year 2013 almost 368 violent crimes on 100.000 inhabitants in the USA, an exorbitant high value. Those records for all USA comprehend outstanding high values for the Southern States, particularly Columbia, and exceedingly high numbers in certain US American towns, such as Baltimore or Detroit. 2013/tables/4tabledatadecoverviewpdf/table_4_crime_in_the_united_states_by_region_geographic_div ision_and_state_2012-2013.xls Hence the issue of guaranteed peace appears to be precarious concerning the USA, particularly concerning its Southern States and certain US American towns. This insufficient situation does not correspond with missing or even lacking efforts to produce public safety. In the contrary, diverse police institutions and secret services, that claim a disctinct part of given public funds and that do have partly exceedingly big power, are operating in the USA. Also the legal situation is not characterized by missing opportunities to act for public safety institutions and organizations. So the USA PATRIOT ACT from 2001, that stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism, 2011 has been extended by President Obama for four years regarding three key provisions (roving wiretaps, searches of business records, and conducting surveillance of individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups). This background might be one factor to influence the exorbitantly high punitivity ratio of the USA: The country exhibits with 1.47% of its population the internationally by far biggest percentage of sentenced incarcerated persons/Persons convicted (next lower rate: Mexico: 0.93%), compared with Norway: 0,22%, Germany: 0,07%, Finland: 0,015%.   Additionally two other significant factors have to be taken into consideration: The relatively big significance of private security companies and detective agencies in the USA ( Gun rights activism: Gun control and gun rights activists  often disagree on the interpretation of laws and court cases related to firearms as well as about the effects of gun control on crime and public safety. Gun rights supporters promote firearms for self-defense, hunting, sporting activities, and security against tyranny. This perennial argumentation is confronted with an increasingly  routinized acceptance of war-like behavior by lonely woolfs on the one side, and police on the other. All in all, peace is only prevailingly guaranteed in the USA. Score: Guaranteed peace: 60% 2. Is the public infrastructure sufficiently fostered? While the roads in many parts of the country are well kept, and the access to the Internet is internationally competible, the US American infrastructure in general is not in best shape. Under some aspects, such as electricity cross country lines, it comes near to a low developed country. A recent comment on that goes: While the U.S. benefits greatly from the sheer size of its economy, excellent universities, flexible labor markets, and innovative businesses, it's falling behind on the overall quality of infrastructure. The U.S. ranked 25 in this category, falling behind countries like Saudi Arabia, Spain, and South Korea. 3?op=1#ixzz3TpBOln00 Score: Fostering Infrastructure: 64% 3. Is the economy well coordinated? Compared to the presidency of George W. Bush, the Obama administration has coordinated the economy very well. So meanwhile joblessness has massively decreased, and the US Dollar has come up again. In spite of these efforts and performances, there are still fundamental problems, above all the extremely high public debt (with the main creditor China). Score: Economic Coordination: 80% 4. How equal are incomes distributed? The USA shows a middle-range value for income equality in international comparison. So the World Banks registers a GINI value of 41.1 for the USA in the year 2010 (2007 still 45%/Germany 30.6) File:2014 Gini Index World Map, income inequality distribution by country per World Bank.svg Score: Income Equality: 60% 5. Is health effectively protected? The US American health system shows a middle range value of effectiveness and efficiency. Also the life expectancy scores of the UN show middle range values amongst other developed countries (place 38 for men, place 42 for women out of 200 countries). Dateien/intvgl.htm Score: Health Protection: 75% 6. Are qualification and education, research & development forward-looking managed? Educational ranking is a debated issue because of different leading values of different educational systems. The United States has registered with a cognitive skills and educational attainment score of 0.39, which makes the United States rank fourteenth out of forty countries ranked in that category. The top ten countries (and their scores) are: South Korea (1.30), Japan (1.03),     Singapore (0.99), Hong Kong (0.96), Finland (0.92), United Kingdom (0.67), Canada (0.60), Netherlands (0.58), Ireland (0.51), Poland (0.50) In contrast, some U.S. universities, such as Harvard, Stanford, or MIT, usually rank as top universities in the world.  Also the nobel prices in natural sciences prevailingly go to researchers from the USA deutscher-oder-amerikanischer-staatsangehoerigkeit/ Score: Education, Research & Development: 88% 7. Ecological and financial sustainability The USA invented the institution of protected national parks. But after the decade from the early 1960s to the early 1970, wherein the USA played the role of an environmental pioneer, the country lost its leading role in environmental affairs. Meanwhile the USA, particularly California, has announced to come back as a leading country of ecological sustainability, such as in fighting against climate change; but its ecological footprint is exorbitantly huge in many regard. And the massive use of the fracking technique to open deep layers of gas for usage is even more worsening the US American ecological record. Also the US American record in terms of financial sustainability is verly low. Until 2011, the USA exhibited a dramatic increase of public debt.  Score: Ecological and financial Sustainability: 40% Summed up Score: Coordination (60+64+85+60+75+88+40): 7 = 67.4% All Scores (USA) Human rights: 56.67 % Participation: 66.67 % Coordination : 67.4%   The USA makes up a handicapped democracy under autocratic pressure
IPA Institute for Political Analysis Prof. Dr. Volker von Prittwitz
The People Index United States of America A handicapped democracy under autocratic pressure
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Human Rights Participation Coordination Border Respect USA USA Demo cracy Mini mum