“Cheaters may almost never win but, given equal opportunity and a large enough competition, the winners are almost always cheaters.”
…It seems so simple once someone points it out. (Should I be more suspicious and try harder to break it?)
The best counter-argument I could come up with is that you can imagine a situation where the benefit gained by cheating tails off as you get nearer the top, perhaps even where the best cheater would always be worse than the best non-cheater (i.e. the best non-cheater could cheat but would gain no extra benefit from it and might even suffer).
If I was a “winner” that would be my response - that you can only cheat to a certain level. It’s an “advertising never works on ME” argument, though.
And whether this scenario actually exists in politics, business, etc. I strongly doubt.