"GLOBAL ISSUES, LEADERSHIP CHOICES":
In this piece from Foreign Policy, Eric Bjornlund draws on more than 30 years of experience monitoring elections in 22 countries around the world and argues that the U.S. is now exhibiting many of the signs consistent with fragile or underdeveloped democracies:
"In genuine, established democracies, political competitors generally do not attack the rules or the fairness of the process, accuse the opposing candidate or the election authorities of cheating, intimidate voters, or threaten them with violence. In less than fully democratic countries, on the other hand, complaints about fraud and fairness are routine, and violence—or the threat of it—is often involved. This tends to undermine public confidence in the elections and in democracy itself. In the struggling democracies and autocracies where I have observed elections, much of the argument is about the integrity of the rules and process. Losing candidates routinely attack the fairness of the electoral process, whether or not they have a basis for their attacks. In fact, you can tell that a country is not (or not yet) a successful democracy when the losers of its elections blame fraud for their loss and attack the legitimacy of the process."
In addition to the undermining of electoral credibility, Bjornlund compares U.S. voter intimidation, disenfranchisement tactics, and the encouragement of social chaos prior to voting to what he has observed in weakly democratic countries from Bangladesh and Venezuela to Myanmar and Egypt.
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