Hi, @robreiner. I'm happy to take a stab at answering the question.

A would-be oligarch (who wants both power and wealth) has to keep the masses in their place, so they have to enact legislation that actually hurts their constituents.

2/ @EWErickson explains how to do that.

Intent an enemy and promise to keep the people safe from the "dangerous" enemy.

@TimothyDSnyder calls it sadopopulsim.

Made-up enemies are safest.
That's why Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.

GOP leaders know that their position on Covid relief is unpopular with their base, but they also know they're giving their base something they want more: Protection from "dangerous" enemies threatening to destroy the U.S.
The truth stopped mattering a long time ago.
In fact, the idea is to undermine truth.

How else will people put up with that endless war against Eastasia?

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More from @Teri_Kanefield

10 Mar
(Thread) The GOP is shrinking, but . . .

. . . they’re dangerous.

What’s going on right now is a pernicious effort across dozens of states to make voting harder. To take one example, the GA legislation⤵️

The GOP evidently concluded that if fewer people vote, they’ll win.
1/ To take another example, the Iowa governor signed a bill shortening early and election day voting. governor.iowa.gov/press-release/…

From @ElectProject, such restrictions are the greatest rollback of voting rights in this country since the Jim Crow era.
2/ These new laws will make it harder to vote, particularly in densely populated Democratic areas.

The GOP problem: They’re shrinking and they know they can’t win without suppressing the vote.

The message of white supremacy and tax cuts for the rich has limited appeal.
Read 19 tweets
5 Mar
Here goes:

Hungarian scholar Balint Magyar offers a theory that explains why the US is holding out against the same tactics that caused other countries to collapse into autocracy. His theory also explains why comparisons across nations don’t always work.

2/ While writing about post-communists mafia states, he talked about the “big bang” theory: He says that the “conditions preceding the democratic big bang have a decisive role in the formation of the system.”
3/ Here’s how I understand the theory (to use Russia as an example). At the time of the Russian Big Bang (early 1990s, when a Democracy struggled to be born) the Communist Party had a monopoly on power and resources.
Read 9 tweets
5 Mar
Like Gessen, I admire Magyar's work. I also agree this is Trump's strategy.

But comparisons to Hungary fail because of systemic differences. What works there doesn't necessarily work here.

Lots of alarm before the 2020 election came from saying the US follow Hungary.
Before the 2020 election, scholars of the kind of fascism taking root in that part of Europe compared what the Republican Party was doing to what Orban did in Hungary.

The conclusion from the comparison in Oct. 2020 was that Trump would steal the election.
I do think, though, that we can learn a lot about the modern Republican Party from studying Magyar's work.

Just don't conclude that the US will follow Hungary's course.

Magyar also talks about the "big bang" theory of Democracy. (If you ask, I'll explain) . . .
Read 4 tweets
4 Mar
Timothy Snyder (@TimothyDSnyder) calls it sadopopulism and explains the formula:

🔹Identify an "enemy" (homeless migrants, Democrats, etc.)
🔹Enact policies that create pain
🔹Blame the pain on the "enemies"
🔹Present yourself as the strongmen who can fight the "enemies."
You can't be a white grievance party if your constituents are not grieving.

Make them suffer, then blame people who are not white.
People misunderstood this comment, so I'll add that this comes from Timothy Snyder, who explained one difference between 20th-century fascists and 21st-century fascists.

20th-century fascists did not deliberately hurt their own constituents. They did not enact laws. . .
Read 5 tweets
27 Feb
If you have multiple parties in a constitutional democracy with a president, the president can come to power with 33% of the vote— or less if the vote is split multiple ways.

Do you really want that?

A majority requires a big tent, which means compromising.
The drafters of our Constitution deliberately avoided a parliamentary system.
If one party jumps on the crazy train, that's when you need all other people to come together to outnumber the crazy party.

10 parties mean each person gets to find the party that fully embraces that person's views (Purity!)

But then the crazy party seizes power.
Read 6 tweets
27 Feb
Several people recently have used the phrase "broken system."

I'm curious about the thinking behind this term. It seems to me as flawed as MAGA.

Broken implies that it was once functional and working, now then it broke.

Two questions . . .
(1) Was it ever not broken?
(2) If so, when did it break?
In 1870, women couldn't vote.

In many states, they couldn't own property.

It was perfectly legal to have all-white juries, and they often were all white.

There were no worker protections or consumer protections.

Read 20 tweets

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