[Ed. – Apparently, these people are for real. They’re just not sane.]
I recently spoke with Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University. He is the award-winning author of numerous books including the recent “Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning” and “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.” Snyder’s new book, “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,” explores how the American people can fight back against Donald Trump’s incipient authoritarian regime. …
[DEVEGA:] The election of Donald Trump is a crisis for American democracy. How did this happen?
[SNYDER:] We asked for it by saying that history was over in 1989 [with the end of the Cold War]. By saying that nothing bad could [ever] happen again, we were basically inviting something bad to happen. …
The Greeks understood that democracy is likely to produce oligarchy because if you don’t have some mechanism to get inequality under control then people with the most money will likely take full control.
With Trump, one sees the new variant of this where a candidate can run by saying, “Look, we all know — wink, wink, nudge, nudge — that this isn’t really a democracy anymore.” He doesn’t use the words but basically says, “We all know this is really an oligarchy, so let me be your oligarch.” Although it’s nonsense and of course he’s a con man and will betray everyone, it makes sense only in this climate of inequality.
[DEVEGA:] How did the news media and others get this so wrong? Why did they underestimate the threat posed by Donald Trump and his movement?
[SNYDER:] What we ended up with, from Bill Clinton onward, is a status quo party and an “undo the system” party, where the Democrats became the status quo party and the Republicans became the “undo the system” party. In that constellation it’s very hard to think of change because one party is in favor of things being the way they are, just slightly better, and the other party has this big idea of undoing everything, although it’s unclear what that really means in practice.