Thursday, January 03, 2019

Democratically-Elected Dictator Bracket!

It may not be March, but I say it's time for a good old-fashioned tournament! The competition? Democratically-elected authoritarians? Which world leader -- who came to power in a (relatively) open election -- is doing the most to trigger democratic backsliding and creeping authoritarianism in their country?

I'll get to seeding in a second, but first, the rules:
  1. Only (relatively) democratically-elected leaders count. So North Korea, China, Belarus, etc., aren't in the pool. There were some judgment calls: Iran's "leader", for example, arguably isn't the "relatively" democratically-elected Rouhani but the completely-unelected Ayatollah; Venezuela's elections really skirt the edge of "relatively". But hey, if these guys were perfect angels, they wouldn't be on the list.
  2. This is a "pound-for-pound" tournament, meaning that you should adjust for size. China is simply bigger than Belarus, its leadership has more aggregate opportunity to behave in a thuggish manner. But you should try to weight each leader's authoritarian tendencies proportionally.
  3. However, you can take into account the starting points of each country before the current leader came to power -- a leader whose nation was already on shaky democratic footing might get less credit than one who has successfully unraveled what had been a thriving democratic space.
Okay -- the match-ups will be posted as polls on this Twitter thread, but here are the contestants!

1. Vladimir Putin (Russia)
16. Sheikh Hasina (Bangladesh)

2. Rodrigo Duterte (Philippines)
15. Giuseppe Conte (Italy)

3. Hassan Rouhani (Iran)
14. Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico)

4. Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil)
13. Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya)

5. Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar)
12. Mateusz Morawiecki (Poland)

6. Donald Trump (USA) 
11. Viktor Orban (Hungary)  

7. Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela) 
10. Narendra Modi (India)

8. Recep Erdoğan (Turkey)
9. Bibi Netanyahu (Israel)

Yes, yes, I know -- your favorite wasn't included. Grousing about bubble teams is also a favorite side-game of a tournament.

Anyway, the polls will open shortly, so play away!

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