The Economist this week has an interesting essay on democracy. It ain’t bad. I recommend reading it. But it also has this insane part:
“This postmodern tsar has destroyed the substance of democracy in Russia, muzzling the press and imprisoning his opponents, while preserving the show — everyone can vote, so long as Mr Putin wins. Autocratic leaders in Venezuela, Ukraine, Argentina and elsewhere have followed suit, perpetuating a perverted simulacrum of democracy rather than doing away with it altogether, and thus discrediting it further.”
What the f--k? We have already presented the evidence that Venezuela is still democratic, albeit barely. That said, the comparison with Russia isn’t unfair.
But Argentina? Seriously? For real? Is there doubt that Argentine elections are free and fair? No. Is there doubt that the Peronistas would leave office if they lost an election? No. And if you don’t believe me, take the word of the same people who lumped Venezuela with Ethiopia. They give Argentina a polity score of 8. That is the same as Belgium and the Czech Republic, and twice Russia.
It is a headscratcher of a sentence. What was the author thinking? Or is it just cool for Economist writers to parrot Newt Gingrich?