Sometimes listening to the voice of the people is just tedious. What do they know? Most Americans spend more time watching cat videos on YouTube than they do researching how to vote. But appearances matter; if we are too obnoxious about our abuse of power, people might actually stop watching kitties and start giving a crap about politics. So here are a few tips from around the world to help get you started on your quest for depriving people of their rights discreetly:
Mohammed Morsi, Islamist president of Egypt, suggests identifying precincts where people are likely to vote against your position, and then ensuring that officials repeatedly take long breaks to pray, eat, and chat on the phone with their friends. After waiting ten or more hours in line to vote, most people will get bored and go home. Morsi also considers making your decisions immune to judicial review by executive order a key step for consolidating power.
In today’s day and age, single party authoritarian rule causes all kinds of public relations problems. Luckily for you, ex-KGB man Vladimir Putin has a solution: using multiple political parties you control to give the appearance of competitive elections to the world, without actually giving up power. Of the four parties represented in Russian national politics, ironically only the Communist Party was not created by the Kremlin itself, with United Russia governing and A Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party created and maintained as satellite parties. Mix that with some traditional voter fraud and a little intimidation of journalists and you’ve got it made!
Alexander Lukashenko is arguably the leading expert worldwide on rigging elections and consolidating power. It isn’t for nothing people call him “the last dictator in Europe.” Becoming president for life requires effective and innovative strategies that we can all learn from in our quest for power. Alex recommends forcing independent voices to print their publications outside the country so police can confiscate them at the border, ensuring a government monopoly on distributing periodicals, and beating and arresting journalists who criticize you. Calling peaceful protesters terrorists on the state-owned television network can sometimes work, though forcing your citizens to work on short-term contracts that only get renewed if they toe the line has better long-term results. Purging universities of independent thought and making particularly troublesome people disappear entirely is extremely effective. Alex also suggests stuffing the ballot box at local precincts, since that’s easier to hide than a more centralized approach. Be warned, though- such a comprehensive strategy tends to make the rest of the world say mean things about you, so you better have a thick skin.
If your local cultural situation requires a more subtle and delicate strategy, remember that while dead men tell no tales, they love to vote. Good luck in your quest to rig elections and consolidate power!