January 25, 2022 | by Chris Cillizza, Rachel Janfaza and Shania Shelton
The US is only the 27th least corrupt country in the world
As Donald Trump prepares to potentially run for his old office in 2024, it’s worth looking at what his four years as president — and his yearlong campaign to undermine the 2020 election results — meant for the country.
The answer: nothing good.
Consider a new study from Transparency International, an independent nonprofit group that, according to its website, “work[s] to expose the systems and networks that enable corruption to thrive, demanding greater transparency and integrity in all areas of public life.”
On Tuesday, the group released its annual Corruption Perception Index, a score-based system that “ranks 180 countries and territories around the world by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The results are given on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).”
The United States comes in a tie for 27th place — with Chile. Both have a Corruption Perception Index score of 67.
By way of comparison, the least corrupt countries — Denmark, Finland and New Zealand — all have a score of 88. Among the countries with healthier scores are many of the major democracies of Western Europe, including Germany (80) and the United Kingdom (78).
The United States’ Corruption Perception Index score had been on the decline for several years. In 2015, the US was at 76. In 2016, 74. By 2020, the US was down to 67, where it remained in 2021.
Why? Simple, according to an analysis from Transparency International:
“The country’s lack of progress on the CPI can be explained by the persistent attacks against free and fair elections, culminating in a violent assault on the US Capitol, and an increasingly opaque campaign finance system.”
Turns out that a former president — and undisputed leader of the Republican Party — actively undermining what was a free and fair election has consequences. Real and lasting ones.
The Point: American democracy withstood Trump’s attempt to override it in 2020 — but only barely. The scars from that attempt — and the ongoing work to raise questions about the validity of the election — remain.