Despots, Autocrats, and Tyrants

Illustrator: Taylor Daniels

Illustrator: Taylor Daniels

It’s no secret that Donald Trump isn’t the most popular president. With a disapproval rating hovering around 50 percent, it’s not hyperbole to say he has the country divided. For many, Trump is the first commander in chief who strikes fear into the hearts of voters young and old. Trump’s actions are anything but insignificant. However, his antics are almost petty compared to the tyranny of his peers in the heads of state community.

Trump has praised Vladimir Putin as a strong leader, and it’s easy to see why. The ex-KGB Russian president has complete control over the country’s government and a stranglehold on its media. Putin has no qualms about killing critics, journalists, and political opponents alike. Sometimes Putin gets theatrical with his assassinations, such as when a critic of his just so happened to drink tea laced with polonium, a deadly radioactive poison.

Despot Rating: 4 radioactive cups of tea / 5

Trump’s multiple wives and braggadocios remarks about sexual assault have been sources of criticism and scorn. But Trump pales in comparison to South African President Jacob Zuma. Zuma, a polygamist who has been married six times, is estimated to have around 20 children. In 2005, Zuma was charged with raping a woman with HIV, though he was never convicted. At least he disclosed his assets after South Africans called for it.

Despot Rating: 2 estranged children / 5

During his campaign, Trump branded himself as the “law and order candidate.” Luckily, Trump is a far cry from President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, whose idea of justice is a little more extreme. Duterte was branded “The Punisher” by TIME due in part to his unorthodox drug policy, which includes urging Filipino citizens to go out and kill drug addicts in the streets.

Despot Rating: 5 vigilante death squads / 5

From Zimbabwe to North Korea and Syria to Sudan, there are leaders that trump The Donald in just about every category of vileness. Trump may not be the figurehead of a tyrannical autocratic state with a laundry list of human rights violations, but he does have dominion over the largest military and economy in the entire world. That, in and of itself, is terrifying. Our government was designed to protect against tyranny, but only if we chose to keep it out.