Explaining the Non-Fraud Fraud

Venezuelan elections are neither free nor fair, but they're what some would call competitive. That's a story even many Venezuelans can't wrap their minds around. I tried to explain it, in 800 words, to a foreign audience.

You think your job is tough? My job is to explain to foreigners what the hell happened on Sunday.

Venezuelan elections aren’t free and they’re certainly not fair, but they are competitive: After all, the opposition did walk off with five governorships, including Zulia, the nation’s most populous state. The resulting optics are just democratic enough to buy the government a minimum of democratic credibility abroad without seriously imperilling its hold on power. From Maduro’s point of view, it’s the best of both worlds: a real election win in a fake democracy.

Oy. Vey.