The Truth About Elections

They're not the hard part of democracy, as a Frenchman once taught America

Talking with reporters recently about Iraq's elections, President Bush bore witness to a quintessential American faith. "If people," he said, "are given a right to express themselves in a ballot in the ballot box, in the public square, and through a free and open press, it'll lead to peace."

To borrow a line from Hemingway, it would be pretty to think so. In fact, history teems with elections that have led to neither peace nor more democracy, from 1930s Germany to today's Haiti, Russia and Pakistan. Elections, if free and open, are a good thing. But, as our Founding Fathers understood,...

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