The Importance of Good Losers in Democracy
39 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 14, 2021
Minimalist and procedural definitions of democracy assume that losers will accept the election results. Yet, levels of compliance among losers vary. The options losers have go beyond accepting or rejecting the results — and rebelling against the winners. We focus on the course of action for losers who do not fully accept the results. Though bad losers do not directly attempt to overthrow the incumbent government or subvert voting results, their actions are a veiled threat to democracy. By focusing on what bad losers do, we contribute to a better understanding of the conditions under which democracy works. After discussing the role of losers in democratic theory and the importance theorists place on the need for losers to comply with election results. We analyze examples from Latin America and the United States to show how bad losers can undermine the well-functioning of democracy. Democracy needs winners and losers to be constrained.
Keywords: Democratic Theory; Definitions of Democracy; Bad Losers in Democracy; Compliance With Elections; Consequences of Elections
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