This does sound somewhat interesting; I would hope that Congress conducts some kind of post-mortem, although I imagine it would probably have a lot of political bias problems. When I read over this, I generally agreed that such a thing would be nice, but two questions/concerns came to mind which perhaps you could address:
It seems like it may be rather difficult to objectively determine the extent/effect of certain factors, given that the ratio of N (countries) to relevant control variables (e.g., cultural norms, urbanization/density, levels of government, respect for human rights, economic performance and characteristics) seems really small. I’m not saying a decent analysis/report can’t be done, I just think that it will be much harder to be more confident of the findings—and to make the findings persuasive, which plays into the second concern:
I’m worried this kind of organization might do some preaching to the choir, but otherwise struggle to persuade the most important target audience (i.e., people who voted for bad politicians) to actually change their opinions/beliefs, let alone their voting habits (at least in the highly-polarized United States).
As a side note (and as part of the reason why I was particularly interested in reading this), I have long wanted/dreamed of some kind of decently impartial “performance/character evaluation” organization that would rate politicians along certain metrics (e.g., do they lie a lot, do they consult experts), perhaps similar to something like accreditation (or “GiveWell but for politics: VoteWell”). (I know of various scorecard organizations/projects, but I think all the ones I’ve seen are narrowly focused on a policy area and/or are heavily politically biased.) The underlying reasoning would be something like “it’s far more efficient to sample test the organization’s analysis and then rely on their credibility when voting than it is to individually evaluate every person you are thinking of voting for.” Of course, such a grand project (of the type I’m describing) seems like a total pie in the sky. :/
I agree that 1. is a problem. I think you want to keep things fairly simple for the sake of transparency, which would mean you end up being e.g. unfairly positive towards leaders of asian countries with conscientious populations and strong hygiene norms. One thing you could do would be to add “which is better than other similar countries like X, Y and Z”—but then there is still some subjectivity about which peer countries to include.
I’m less concerned about 2. Even if the majority of voters are impossible to persuade, the marginal voter theorem suggests that you only need to influence a few people. And even in a state where one party has basically no chance, there is often competition at other levels. For example, if Cuomo is the Democrat nominee for New York State Governor, he will almost definitely win—but this might help a rival Democrat challenge him for that nomination.
Your project sounds like a good one… but I agree it would be very hard. Focusing on covid only seemed like a tractable smaller version.