How do authoritarian regimes punish ordinary opposition voters? I argue that elected community politicians help make "punishment regimes," which discourage opposition support, credible. Strengthened by decentralization reforms, community politicians have information and leverage necessary to identify and punish opposition supporters. When the regime wins community elections, these politicians extend the regime's reach deep into communities. When opposition parties win, their reach is constrained weak- ening their electoral control. Using mixed-methods evidence from Tanzania, I show regime-loyal community politicians use their distributive and legal-coercive powers to "deliver the vote" leading voters in these communities to fear individual reprisals for opposition support. In contrast, voters fear individual punishment in opposition-run communities significantly less. This study demonstrates the importance of local institutions and elections when understanding regime durability.
McLellan, R. (2022). Delivering the Vote: Community Politicians and the Credibility of Punishment Regimes in Electoral Autocracies. Comparative Politics, 55(3), 449–472. https://doi.org/10.5129/001041523x16601556495592