Scholarly attention has increasingly shifted from diminished subtypes of democracy to hybrid regimes, particularly competitive authoritarianism. Such regimes retain democracy’s formal features while failing to meet its minimum standards. When properties of distinct concepts like democracy and authoritarianism are combined, however, confusion, inaccuracy, and mischaracterization of cases may occur. By disaggregating political systems into electoral institutions, surrounding rights and freedoms, constitutionalism, and the rule of law, this article complicates the binary distinction between a midrange definition of democracy and competitive authoritarianism. A number of Andean cases are found to fall on the spectrum of defective democracies between these categories. Defective democracies break down when rulers violate the conditions necessary for institutionalized alternation in power by means of public participation and loyal opposition in an electoral regime. Given leaders’ reliance on electoral legitimacy, however, even defective democracies may prove surprisingly resilient.