Shadi Hamid says that I am mistaken when I write: "What we have learned is that once Islamists actually wield  power, their popularity collapses." Hamid:

It is not true that once Islamists wield power, their popularity collapses. An important, but often overlooked, distinction should be made here. Islamist parties that win power through the democratic process, at either the local or national levels, tend to actually be relatively popular. Islamists that come to power through undemocratic or violent means - the National Islamic Front in Sudan, the Taliban in Afghanistan, or the mullahs of Iran - tend to be unpopular. And they're unpopular not necessarily because they are Islamist, but because they are authoritarian and brutal. (Similarly, the reason that the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes are unpopular is not because they are secular, but because they are authoritarian and, at times, brutal).

He has some interesting examples to counter me. But I don't consider Turkey's moderate and democratic Islamist parties to be equatable with Hezbollah or the Tehran regime. Hamid, moreover, makes an exception to his rule with Hamas.

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