A joke, of questionable provenance:
“How do you pick your government?”
We take the two biggest, strongest guys in the country; we put them in the wrestling arena, and whoever wins is the king.
“That seems like a terrible form of government. Aren’t those guys generally stupid.”
Yup, it’s great for us. Both of them will do whatever we tell them to do.
There are several interpretations.
Of Lineal Descent
To have lineal descent, you must have a succession process. There are two forms of succession: succession through ritual combat, and succession through death.
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., formerly a Senator from the State of Delaware, is the 46th lineal holder of the Presidency of the United States. This is indisputed.
Magnus Carlsen, of Norway, is the lineal holder of the World Chess Title. He will defend his title against the top contender, a Russian nicknamed “Nepo”, later this year.
Damien Priest is the lineal holder of the WWE United States Championship. This is a fact verifiable by official publications of the company traded as NYSE: WWE.
Damien Priest engages is ritual combat regularly in front of studio audiences. The combat is scripted.
Magnus Carlsen engages in ritual combat on a two-year cycle. The combat is competitive. Carlsen regularly defeats all comers in non-ritual combat of the same competition.
The Trump presidency still seems more like the punchline to a joke. One day the Powers That Be ran an election to find the most popular man in America, and it was Ryan Seacrest. So they went up to him and they said “Congratulations, we’d like you to be the next president of the United States”. And Ryan Seacrest says “I’m sorry, but I can’t.” And the Powers That Be said “all right, we’ll find some other game show host for the position. Is Donald Trump available?”
Yet, somehow, in 2020 the incumbent president of the United States was Donald Trump. And Joe Biden beat him in an election.
Succession through Death
Now it is one thing to suggest that the Queen of England might die in office. It is another thing to suggest that the President of the United States might die in office. But Biden is approximately 80, likely to be susceptible to COVID, and clearly not up for the exhaustive workload a true crisis would require. In the event, the Vice President (currently Kamala Harris) would succeed.
There have occasionally been open tournaments to determine the chess world champion.
It would take the unthinkable for a healthy performer under 40 to die. The WWE would probably memorialize or retire the belt if it happened.
An Election System
The current incumbent is King Alpha. He calls an election. A primary election is held, with single transferable vote. The top three candidates are Beta, Gamma, and Delta. Then, a series of elections are held. Alpha faces Delta, then Gamma, then Beta in a series of single non-transferable general elections.
Contrafactual Example: 2012. The incumbent is Barack Obama. He calls an election. A primary election is held Aug 2012. The top three candidates are Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Bernie Sanders. Obama faces Sanders in Sep 2012, winner faces Huckabee in Oct 2012, winner faces Romney in Nov 2012.
Contrafactual Example: 2018: The incumbent is Magnus Carlsen. A candidates tournament is held, and the top three candidates are Caruana, Mamedyarov, and Karjakin. Title matches are held, one per six months, with the winner of each match assuming the title.
Contrafactual Example: 2022: A internet poll picks 3 out of 12 wrestlers to fight Damien Priest. By pre-arrangement, Priest defeats all three of them on successive weekends.