American Democracy After Trump’s First Year

In January 2018, as Donald Trump completed his first year as president, Bright Line Watch conducted its fourth expert survey on the state of U.S. democracy. At the same time, we conducted an identical public survey – our second – with a nationally representative sample of Americans. This approach allows us to assess whether experts and/or the public believe the quality of democracy has changed in the U.S. during President Trump’s tenure. We also asked respondents to rate the overall quality of democracy in a dozen other countries, including Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, allowing us to assess how experts and the public believe America stacks up against other countries. Finally, we disaggregate results from our public survey to see how changes in these perceptions vary by approval of Trump.

The overall picture is sobering. Though the public rates American democracy more negatively than our experts do (as in our previous survey), both experts and the public agree that the performance of U.S. democracy has declined. CONT.

Bright Line Watch