Iran 'Elections': Lots of Circus, Not So Much Bread
Election Day: In the center ring, this is the big show. The leader wants to be able to tell the world that the regime has huge popular support, even though everybody knows it would be overwhelmingly voted out in any honest election, as it was in 2009. So lots of citizens will be ordered to the voting booths, and lots of Basijis and Revolutionary Guards will be bussed all over the place--Potemkin-style--casting ballots early and often. Some will get paid for their work, others will get fed. Foreign journalists will be instructed to report a monster turnout and great popular enthusiasm. The stories, save for the name of the new president, could be written today.
The Winner: The "count" will be announced in the evening. Usually there's a clear winner (the "rules" provide for a runoff between the top two if nobody gets a majority), and it would be surprising if there were a second round, because that would provide a legitimate excuse for large numbers of people to assemble in the streets. The regime does not want that. They remember 2009. Hundreds of thousands of citizens demanded that Mir Hossein Mousavi be certified as the winner. Today he's locked away under a form of house arrest/internal exile.
Don't pay attention to the circus. Keep your eye on the ball. This is a hollow regime, it's riven beyond description, and even its foreign legion, Hezbollah, is very unhappy about fighting and dying for Sunni Arabs in Syria. Secretary Kerry, with his extraordinary ability to miss the main issues, actually went to the Senate and asked the world's greatest deliberative body to hold off on tougher sanctions through the "election" period. He's got it backasswards. After all, he's now in charge of leading with our national behind.