A correspondent wrote in suggesting that elections offer some redress to the tendency towards fascism exhibited recently by the US and UK governments. I agree with him in that democratic elections do impose some constraint on the behaviour of rulers. But that constraint is very much vitiated by the control of an opinion-making elite over what options are available to the electorate.
For example, in 2004, roughly 50% of the US electorate was opposed to the Iraq war. But the two major parties each offered candidates who supported the war, only differing in how they proposed to conduct it. The most viable candiate to express the anti-war view, Howard Dean, was sabotage by the widespread media "exposure" of his "instability."
Now, I don't suggest that there was some coherent conspiracy to defeat Dean. There is no need to postulate such a conspiracy if one recognizes that the elite in question travel in the same social circles, attend the same parties, find their offspring marrying each other, and so on. All that is needed to blow up the Dean campaign is not an organized conspiracy, but merely a predominant opinion among that elite that Dean is "too radical, too far "out there." Once that exists, any incident taken to exhibit that consensus view wll be advanced throughout the outlets that elite controls.