I was reading a book for my graduate seminar that referred to Belarus and Russia as electoral democracies. Never be fooled by the notion that an election equals democracy hence the creation of term electoral democracy. But still the term doesn’t fit because both elections and democracy imply that a choice exists, were it doesn’t. The rules of the electoral game are pathetically unfair. Any opposition parties are kept weak or intimidated into silence to ensure that United Russia in Russia and Lukashenko in Belarus never lose, unless its’ to candidates and parties they surrogate.
Sadly, elections in many societies are vanity contests for dictators and a giant middle finger to Western countries who pride themselves on democratic institutions. Elections are a useful instrument for dictators because how can any Western government plot to dethrone them, if you’ve won through an election, they very embodiment for democracy, by some pin headed analysts. Elections can be the embodiment of a hopeful future or the legitimizing play-thing of an egotistical madman, democracy advocates would be best served to remember this lesson.