This lecture explains to students circumstances in which elections have brought about desirable outcomes, and how they can be associated with problems. On the positive sides, elections can attain:
Wide public engagement in political decision-making.
Peaceful changeovers in governing groups.
The promotion of consensus around core values.
On the negative sides, elections can:
Suffer manipulation from existing authorities or other well-established groups.
Contribute to an undermining of the democratic system of which they are a part, for instance through facilitating majoritarianism
Fail to perform their role effectively if there are sharp cross-cutting divisions between different social groups or factions
Degenerate into non-programmatic populism