A persuasive argument for why the Chinese authorities are looking forward to Hillary-v-Jeb in 2016:
The ruling Chinese Communist Party is deeply sensitive to charges that it is non-democratic and the playground of “princelings” — a pejorative term for the class of Chinese business tycoons and political power players who trace their lineages to Communist veterans. Nothing helps to blunt that charge as much as the idea that American democracy is similarly corrupt. “The Chinese media, especially the Party media, has been using American elections as a way to discredit democracy,” says Kecheng Fang, a former reporter for the Southern Weekly in Guangzhou who now researches Chinese media at the University of Pennsylvania. “I think much of Chinese media has been referring to this election as Clinton 2.0 versus Bush 3.0, so it’s a very trendy topic.” As Weihua Chen, chief Washington correspondent for the China Daily, the government’s largest English-language newspaper, put it to me in an interview: “You guys always talk about being the greatest democracy, but now you have a democracy run by two families for more than a decade?”
Scrape down past the popcorn topsoil, and it’s a depressing story. Democratic hegemony is so solidly entrenched as a benchmark of global regime legitimacy, that even China resorts to pointing the finger and taunting: call that a real democracy. The Zeitgeist hasn’t remotely begun to turn, and the world’s most powerful autocracies are still deferring to it submissively, even as they beg for some tolerance in respect to timing.
If NRx has one serious task — and in fact, an overwhelmingly intimidating one — it is to contribute to the establishment of an alternative principle of political legitimation. To imagine that significant steps had yet been taken in this regard would be to court extreme self-delusion. The road ahead is hard.