POLITICS
09/28/2015 05:57 am ET Updated Sep 29, 2015

A New Hampshire Primary For World Leaders

First to Last's rankings in the imaginary race for president of the world.
The Huffington Post

Imagine the world is a giant New Hampshire and the 2016 primary election is this week. We here at First to Last 2016 are doing just that, inspired by Pope Francis’ on fleek American tour and the start of the U.N. General Assembly’s annual fall festival of international bloviation (and “NO PARKING” signs throughout Manhattan).  

So ... if Earth were to stage a primary, who would be leading the nominating race for president of the planet? Who’s showing the public skills, the organization, the statesmanship, the pragmatic shrewdness? Who has the ‘mo and who doesn’t? We, of course, recognize that the pope is in a category of his own -- thank God (heh!) for that -- and that some of the candidates on this list are bloodthirsty tyrants or worse.

But we include Francis because he's showing even men and women of good will -- including some on this list -- how to be a leader on Earth, even if his ultimate goal is all about the afterlife.

RANK LEADER RISING OR FALLING
1
POPE FRANCIS
Devout, simple Holy Father is also the best political leader on the planet at the moment.
2
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
With Europe in disarray, China stalled and oil prices clobbering Russia, our POTUS, by contrast, is enjoying a great lame duck period domestically. Much shakier on the foreign policy front, however, where dark clouds line the horizon.
3
CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING
“Xi Drives Me Crazy,” not to mention the Pentagon, corporate CTOs worldwide and everybody in Asia.
4
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN
With energy prices down and the World Cup coming, he’s pumping more iron and trying to be personable and charming on "60 Minutes.” A Putin trying to be charming is even more scary.
5
GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL
No good deed goes unpunished. Mutti reaches out to immigrants; Bavarians (always the leading edge of German paranoia) don’t like it. The crisis at your most emblematic car company doesn't help.
6
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON
From Piers Gav to #baeofpigs. Sure, Labour is in a bit of disarray as they take their first few uncertain steps with Jeremy Corbyn. But Cameron is looking more and more like he will be the PM to lose Scotland.
7
INDIAN PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI
The sun may have set on the British Empire, but you'll need more than a global ad campaign on yoga to rebrand India as a superpower. Modi’s next move might be inspired by his confab with American Fortune 500 CEOs, who told him, "Continue what you are doing, but do it faster."
8
SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR ASSAD
Evidently, if you drop enough barrel bombs and wait long enough, you can make it through the darkest part of your dictatorial career. Out of exhaustion if nothing else, everyone outside of the United States seems to be deciding that you are the least-bad option to lead Syria -- red lines and war crimes be damned. What a difference a few years make.
9
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU
Defied the electoral odds at home, and sent his domestic critics and their grandiose predictions packing. But with the rest of the world willing to hope for the best on Iran, Bibi is more isolated than ever.
10
HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER VIKTOR ORBAN
He’s put Hungary back on the map of international affairs -- in the worst possible way.
11
ISIS HEAD ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI
Unlike Zawahiri, of al Qaeda, we are sure the ISIS leader is alive, still bringing foulness to the world -- and still a cause of grave concern to almost everyone else on this list.
Candidate Photos: Getty, Associated Press
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