With all the frenzy over the special election in Alabama gripping the nation it was probably easy to overlook the fact that there were a huge number of elections held yesterday. Of course, they were in Venezuela, so you’re to be forgiven if you didn’t hear anything about it.

Venezuela didn’t hold a national election for President, of course. Nicolas Maduro may have taken dictatorial control of the country this year, but he’s not yet ready to risk allowing his starving people to go to the polls and express an opinion on his fate. These were the next round of mayoral elections in cities across the country. They were being closely watched because Maduro has scheduled other elections to come because he didn’t care for the results of the last races where the peasants in certain regions had the temerity to vote against his preferred candidates. And, predictably, his socialist party delivered just what he was looking for, with victories in nearly every one of yesterday’s contests. (Associated Press)

Venezuela’s ruling socialists swept nearly all the races for mayors across the country, and President Nicolas Maduro is now threatening to ban key opposition parties from future elections in the oil-rich country wracked by economic crisis.

Hundreds of supporters shouted “Go Home, Donald Trump” to interrupt Maduro at a rally late Sunday in the colonial center of Caracas, where he announced that pro-government candidates grabbed more than 300 of the 335 mayoral offices.

Sunday’s voting marked the last nationwide elections before next year’s presidential race when Maduro is expected to seek another term despite his steep unpopularity.

“The imperialists have tried to set fire to Venezuela to take our riches,” Maduro told the crowd. “We’ve defeated the American imperialists with our votes, our ideas, truths, reason and popular will.”

Well, isn’t that just remarkable? Nicolas Maduro is running the socialist playbook line for line and thus far it’s working perfectly. His supporters are taking to the streets and shouting slogans accusing President Trump of causing their problems. (Turning the United States into “the common enemy” is a traditional tool of tyrants.) Three of the four major opposition parties either boycotted or were cowed out of these mayoral races in nearly every city and village, leaving the path clear for Maduro’s party to “win” an astounding 300 contests. Opposition leaders are filling up the jails, abandoning their campaigns or, in some cases, fleeing the country.

Meanwhile, inflation in Venezuela is running at roughly 800% through October of this year and the International Monetary Fund predicts that it will go as high as 2,300% in 2018. The money that the Venezuelans are carrying around is basically worthless and is reminiscent of the days in Italy under Il Duce when Italians would bring a wheelbarrow full of lira to the store hoping to buy a single loaf of bread. (And this is despite Maduro attempting to enact a scheme where he would create his own new cryptocurrency.)

At the same time, basic medicines, vaccinations and even baby formula are beyond the reach of all but the socialist party elites, creating what journalists in the country are describing as a race for survival in the streets of the nation’s major cities. Malaria is ravaging the nation and people are literally dying from wholly preventable or treatable illnesses because they have no access to medical care.

In the midst of all this chaos, Nicolas Maduro stated yesterday that the parties who “boycotted” the elections are done. In other words, he will ban the oppostion parties from even attempting to field candidates in upcoming elections. Watch closely, kids. A real-life experiment is playing out in Venezuela which you would be wise to monitor. This is how socialism always ends. The death throes of a once prosperous nation are the result of a generational shift toward centralized power under a tyrant. And the world can do basically nothing about it at this point.