A triumphalist Tweet from a Canadian, based on the judgement of The Economist magazine.
Hi, post-election Canada. For all the griping & whining we do as a nation, we WORK! Take a good look at this map. See that big blue area above the USA? That vast gorgeous block of democracy? That's us. A full democracy. Let's work together to keep it so.https://t.co/Mt3MV66m2Q— TheSaiFiles (@FilesSai) September 21, 2021
The London-based Economist and its sister publication, The Economist Intelligence Unit, have decided that the US is a "flawed democracy" and the currently locked-down police state of Australia, and the slightly less locked-down UK and Dominion of Canada are "full democracies." Seriously? We're talking, just for starters, about three monarchies, under the unelected Queen Elizabeth II.
The Economist guys claim to have studied five measures of democracy: "electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties."
See Global democracy has a very bad year, February 2, 2021, or Democracy Index 2020 - Economist Intelligence Unit.
Here's some liberal democracy at work in Australia lockdown protests, civil liberties not so much:
Let’s check in on liberal democracy pic.twitter.com/KXWnF4LYU6— Auron MacIntyre (@AuronMacintyre) September 24, 2021
Also, while there are regular meltdowns when an American President takes office with less than 50 percent of the popular vote, Parliamentary democracies regularly install Prime Ministers who got 30 percent of the vote.
In Canada, a Liberal politician seems to have boasted that Trudeau is taking office with the most efficient number of votes, which means the lowest.
Trudeau’s percentage (really his party’s percentage) of the popular vote in the recent snap election: 32.3 per cent, down from 2019's 33.1 percent. This is almost two less than the Conservatives, as Charles Lane points out in Canada’s non-tyranny of the non-majority, Washington Post, September 21, 2021.
As explained in the National Post by Colby Cosh, this means:
Despite the fractional dip in overall popularity, however, the Liberals this morning are elected or leading in 158 seats — near enough to a 170-seat Commons majority that they can expect to be able to legislate bill-by-bill for another couple years. This, [Liberal insider Gerald] Butts crowed, is a triumph of bleeding-edge psephological science. “Vote efficiency isn’t accidental,” he wrote. “All three Trudeau Liberal campaigns were among the most efficient in (Canada’s) history.” He praised the “unsung team of super geniuses” behind the campaign and observed that “Campaigns are a ruthless optimization exercise: where will your incremental investment drive the maximum return in real time, especially at the end. …(T)he more I look at last night’s returns the more I’m awestruck.”…
Butts, perhaps speaking carelessly, positively equated the election campaign with microtargeting, as if the whole thing was a Manhattan Project-like effort to discover a natural lower bound for a government’s voter support. (“Stability’s still holding, cap’n!” “Very good. Take her below thirty!”)…
If elections are “microtargeting” shopping trips among an infinity of micropublics, it could be that the ultimate palm from the 2021 election has to go to the Bloc Quebecois. Their vote share within Quebec went down a smidgen, like that of the Liberals in Canada as a whole. But they have turned 32 per cent of the Quebec vote into 44 per cent of its seats, and despite being behind the Liberals in Quebec votes, they’re ahead 34 to 33 in the size of their caucus. Who will name and exalt the BQ’s super geniuses? Step forward, les Einsteins! You outplayed the Liberal giants in your home ballpark!
That doesn't sound like it would drive the average American into paroxysms of "democracy envy"—he might even say that his ancestors had fought a Revolution to avoid it, and to maintain rights of freedom of speech and the right to keep and bear arms at levels no one in the Commonwealth—including London, where The Economist has its offices—has ever had.
If you're looking for a judgement of how democratic your country is, you shouldn't ask The Economist.