Theorists of democracy assert that government is held accountable and responsive to citizens through the electoral process. Elections can offer citizens representative government, but only when certain conditions are met. I provide evidence that when elections become uncompetitive for long periods of time and political coalitions establish dominant regimes the distribution of government benefits changes. Examining twentieth-century political patterns in nine of the United States' largest cities, I find that dominant regimes establish electoral control, then target core supporters and powerful interests at the expense of the larger community.