Over the last two decades, a distinctive regime type has emerged across the developing world, one that scholars have come to call competitive authoritarianism. This sort of political system allows for the contestation of power among different social groups, but with so many violations of electoral fairness and so little regard for liberal norms that it cannot be called a true democracy. From Russia to Peru, Cambodia to Cameroon, such regimes are now located in almost every region of the world, and how they develop will determine the shape of the twenty-first century.Maybe it's time to recognize yet another new regime type: oligarchical democracy. Exemplar: the current United States. Features: Severe inequalities of wealth and income; grossly disproportionate power in the political process exercised by the wealthiest; polarized parties masking a fairly narrow range of "respectable" policy debate; money enshrined as constitutionally protected speech. Etcetera.
"Oligarchical democracy" sounds contradictory and no doubt goes against Plato's and Aristotle's classifications of regimes (and many subsequent classifications). Well, tough s**t.