authority. Casting the national ballot liberated ordinary citizensrnfrom the influences of competitors—the church, provincialrnnotables, kinfolk, and champions of localism. Electionsrnsoon became essential ceremonies of national civic induction, arnprocess ever-further extended as wars evolved into expensivernmillion-man national crusades.rnModern dictatorships are especially taken with elections,rntypically combined with some form of compulsory voting, asrnmeans of state domination. The Soviet Union’s notorious single-rnparty elections with 99-1- percent turnout are the paradigmaticrnbut hardly unique example. Many African nations boastrnof near unanimous turnout to endorse their beloved kleptocraticrnleader. The Pinochet government of Chile even wentrnso far as to make nonvoting punishable by three months inrnprison and a $150 fine. While it is tempting to dismiss suchrnchoice-less, forced-march elections as shams, the investment ofrnprecious state funds and bureaucratic effort confirms thatrnelections are far more than mechanisms of citizen control ofrngovernment.rnIn general, the electoral process, whether in a democracy orrna dictatorship, performs this citizen domestication function inrnvarious ways, but let us examine here only three mechanisms.rnTo be sure, the connection between state aggrandizement andrnelections is not guaranteed, and much can go astray. Nevertheless,rnover time the two go together. The first mechanism mightrnbe called psychological co-optation via participation; I takernpart, cast my vote, therefore I am implicated. All of us havernbeen “victims” of this technique beginning, no doubt, as children.rnRecall, for example, when mom wished your acquiescencernto visit hated Aunt Nelly. Despotically demanding compliance,rnthough possible in principle, was too costly. Instead,rnmom “democratically” discussed alternatives with you, includingrncleaning house or going to the ballet. Given such choices,rnyou “freely” opted for visiting Nelly, and your subsequent complaintsrnwere easily met with “you freely decided.”rnSuch co-optive manipulation extends beyond devious parenting;rnit is the essence of modern management psychology.rnBeginning in the 1920’s, industrial psychologists realized thatrn”worker involvement” usefully gained cooperation, especiallyrnwhen confronting unpleasant choices. Let workers conspicuouslyrnoffer their “input” and they will be far more malleable.rnInternal “selling” to oneself flows from public choice. Personalrnparticipation need not even occur—it is the formal opportunityrnto add one’s two cents, or the involvement of others, that isrnimportant. Provided executives define the range of options andrncontrol decision-making rules, this “worker empowerment”rnbenefits, not subverts, management. That manipulative inclusionrncan be labeled “democratic” and “enlightened” and flattersrn”worker insight” is wonderful public-relations icing on therncake.rnThis process applies equally to elections. Recall the 1968rnpresidential contest—a highly divisive three-way race of HubertrnHumphrey, Richard Nixon, and George Wallace in which thernwinner failed to gain a popular majority. Nevertheless, despiternall the divisiveness, Ben Ginsberg and I discovered that views ofrnnational government, its responsiveness and concern for citizens,rnbecame more favorable following the election among votersrnthan among nonvoters. This was also true among thosernchoosing losing candidates. Involvement transcended andrnoverpowered the disappointment of losing. Even a nasty,rnsomewhat inconclusive campaign “juiced” citizen support forrngovernment. The pattern is not unique—the election ceremonyrnimproves the popularity of leaders and institutions regardlessrnof voting choice.rnElections are also exercises in “Little Leagueism” to helprnprop up the political status quo. That is, potentially dangerousrnmalcontents are involved in safe, organized activity under responsiblernadult supervision rather than off secretly playing byrnthemselves. All things considered, better to have Lenin get outrnthe vote, solicit funds, ponder polls, circulate petitions, or servernin Congress. This is equally true in democracies or dictatorshipsrn—regular electoral activity facilitates “conventionality”rn(regardless of ideology) among those who might otherwise driftrnto the dangerous, revolutionary edge. This is especially truernwhere bizarre groups overall constitute a relatively small minority.rnAt a minimum, humdrum details and ceaseless busy workrnhardly leaves any time for sitting around a cafe plotting revolution.rnEven if all potential revolutionaries are not “domesticated”rnvia the election process, the easy availability of electionsrnhelps keep the peace. Why risk mayhem when public employmentrnby stuffing ballot boxes is so simple? The 1960’s BlackrnPower movement is the perfect poster child. The urban guerrillarnmovement back then seemed imminent—the infatuationrnwith Franz Fanon’s celebration of violence and similar mumbojumbornrhetoric, the macho allure of automatic weapons, andrnthe gleeful “in-your-face” public paramilitarism demeanor. Urbanrnriots were everywhere; Newark and Detroit had become virtualrngarrison states. Comparisons with Northern Ireland orrnLebanon were not absurd.rnNevertheless, the pedestrian seduction of public office easilyrnovercame this intoxication with violence. The Malcolm XrnDemocratic Club and similar entities suddenly materializedrnwhile numerous cleaned-up revolutionary agitators enteredrn”the system” as “progressive Democrats,” often occupying positionsrnset aside for minorities. The “Black Mayor” became institutionalized.rnThe passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, its extensions,rnand generous subsequent interpretations made blackrnelectoral mobilization a national government priority. Thernfederal registrar served as the neighborhood convenience storernfor “selling out.” Within a decade, the once-familiar “revolutionary”rnagitator spewing forth cliches about insurrection was arnpolitical antique. By the 1980’s, it was impossible for a “take-tothe-rnhills” Black Power revolutionary even to think about competingrnwith elections.rnThe transformation of revolutionary “Black Power” intornhumdrum conventionality highlights the third way electionsrndomesticate potential disruption: tangible inducement (orrnbribery, in plain English) to malcontents. The “cooling out”rnvia granting a piece of the action is a time-honored Americanrntradition, from 19th-century populists and socialists to thernI960’s antiwar movement. Entering “the system,” at least inrnhighly permeable American politics, wonderfully corrupts revolutionaryrnardor. At a minimum, rabble-rousers in remissionrnmust come out of hiding to collect their salary, sit in their offices,rnboss around subordinates, issue press releases, accept financialrncontributions, and, if necessary, bounce a check. IfrnMaxine Waters (D-CA) seems like an out-of-control ballisticrnmissile, imagine her unchecked by the obligations of high publicrnoffice. As a comfortable congresswoman, she is far morernconstrained than if preaching the street-corner revolutionaryrngospel or a tenured professor with an endowed chair. Ditto forrnthe thousands of others contemplating revolutionary violencern12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn