Concerned by illiberalism and conflict in new democracies, some analysts advocate democratic sequencing—putting off democracy until the rule of law and a well-functioning state are in place. Such a view overestimates the willingness and capability of autocrats to build a strong foundation for democracy and the ability of the United States to influence decisions by other societies about how to proceed with political change. Gradually introducing key components of political competition is a better alternative than putting off democracy altogether in countries where the underlying structural factors point to a difficult democratic path.