Postponing elections is what autocracies do. On Friday, Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/31/concern-as-hong-kong-postpones-elections-for-one-year-citing-covid-19), announced a delay to September’s planned legislative council elections, citing the coronavirus public health emergency as her justification. Yet the real reason is Hong Kong’s political emergency. Hong Kong’s elections have been postponed because even with its very limited democracy, Lam and the Chinese government are afraid voters will choose a council with greater sympathy for the protests.

In spite of their very different systems, Donald Trump’s (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/trump-election-delay-distraction-tweet-economic-figures) reasons for proposing the postponement of November’s US presidential election are essentially the same. Trump also cites the pandemic. But his real motives are also political. He thinks he is losing the campaign. He thinks Joe...

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