The vote count was fair. The Nicaraguan people have spoken. But whether that constitutes democracy depends on whether one's theory of politics allows for massive interference by a huge, hostile neighboring state. The interference means not just the millions poured in recent months into creating a "unified" opposition, but the 10-year drumbeat from Washington.
It was all over back then. None of the corrections and concessions the Sandinistas have made since mattered a bit. Washington locked onto them like a heat-seeking missile -- first with the furtive, internationally scorned terrorist war (artfully designed to escape notice by avoiding US causalties), and then the residue of terror, the economic onslaught designed to keep Nicaraguan in a zone of misery. It continued through Sunday's vote.
After tens of thousands of deaths, perhaps $10 billion worth of damage to the economy, and a 90 percent decline in the standard of living -- with no end in sight -- 60 percent of Nicaragua gave up and cried uncle. Now, in unison, American politicians hail peace and democracy. They agree there is no call in Nicaragua for further aggression.