Facing video links with 80 world leaders arrayed on two oversize electronic panels, the US president said: “This is an urgent matter on all our parts, in my view, because the data we’re seeing is largely pointing in the wrong direction.”
Biden cited studies that found that global freedom has now been in retreat for 15 consecutive years and that more than half of all democracies experienced a decline in the past decade.
He acknowledged that one of those countries in democratic decline was his own. Since the November 2020 elections – the result of which is still not accepted by many supporters of the loser, Donald Trump – voting rights have been under assault from Republicans on the state level, where gerrymandering is still rife, carried out by both Republicans, and to a lesser extent, Democrats.
Biden has been accused by American progressives of hosting a global summit while not doing enough to combat democratic backsliding at home. In New York, activists staged a “funeral for democracy” outside the United Nations, in protest of US voter suppression laws.