Naturally, it is understood by all that the recent Syrian Presidential election was utterly unfair, with only one viable candidate being presented to the people and no serious opposition to this candidate being allowed. But does the audience (especially the non-U.S.A.ian readers of this blog) know that in 2012, almost 3% of the House of Representatives and almost 40% of state legislators in the United States, a known beacon of democracy, were elected via single-candidate elections? Of course, the impact of these single-candidate elections is somewhat mitigated by a typically competitive primary process and a much freer media environment than in Syria. However, it is to be remembered that the closest American equivalent to Assad’s re-election this year was Lincoln’s re-election in 1864, which was carried out during wartime with severe political repression of many opponents of Lincoln’s presidency. However, U.S.A. 1864 was a much more competitive Presidential election than Syria 2014, at least in regard to the popular vote. I think all U.S. states should adopt amendments to their constitutions prohibiting single-candidate elections. Election reform at home is bound to be much more productive than opposition to Assad’s regime in Syria.

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