War and Democracy

I never thought I’d type the first five words of the next sentence but we live in interesting times….

Charles Krauthammer in the Guardian asks questions about the calls for a boycott of the upcoming Iraqi elections by making analogies with the US Civil War:

In 1864, 11 of the 36 states did not participate in the American presidential election. Was Lincoln’s election therefore illegitimate?

In 1868, three years after the security situation had, shall we say, stabilised, three states (and not insignificant ones: Texas, Virginia and Mississippi) did not participate in the election. Was Grant’s election illegitimate?