Caveat: Still a Democracy 1 player and already making suggestions for Democracy 2, but I’m fairly sure this hasn’t been implemented, so…
One thing that made me chuckle a bit was how Russia was included on the list of democratic nations that could be played, and how the political process there was as free and open as any Western democracy. Now, as I’m sure we’re aware, there’s quite a few grades of political freedom, and the amount of “administrative resource” that can be applied to any nation’s political system. Spying on political opponents, banning opposition parties, using the media as an organ for government propaganda, and outright stuffing the ballot box are the standard political process in “democratic” nations such as Zimbabwe; anyone who’s been following the news knows that the opposition candidate was the odds-on favorite to win the election, but violence against his supporters got him to withdraw his candidacy. Meanwhile, even America isn’t free of this kind of crap, as demonstrated by problems from the Red Scare to Watergate to Florida 2000 to the current Congressional corruption scandals.
So, I was wondering if “Political Freedom” could be implemented to some degree? Policies, events and situations might, intentionally or as a side effect, increase or reduce the open and fair character of the political system. Lower political freedom will act as a support reducer for various groups. (To be fair, I’m not sure that anyone but Liberals would be annoyed…but then, the average voter in a Western country should be around 80% Liberal or more anyway!) The upside, however, is that a percentage of votes get altered in your favor come election time; opposition candidates can’t get airtime or funding, voters are intimidated into staying home, and you get to count the votes when they do come in.
Also, lower political freedom should increase radicalization in all groups. If there’s a strong tradition of political freedom in the country, even Religious and Patriotic individuals will generally prefer to change the government democratically, but if the Fearless Leader is the only one voting, and he doesn’t keep the people happy, then the people who can’t express their frustration at the ballot box express it with a bullet. Liberal radicalization in particular should be heavily tied to political freedom, as we’ve seen in the last couple of decades. (Liberal revolutions in the modern era are less violent, but they’re still popular overthrows of quasi-democratic governments, such as the Color Revolutions in the Commonwealth of Independent States.)