It’s not possible to find common ground with people who deliberately lie for political advantage. How do you meet them halfway?

Any lies undermine democracy.

The parties are no longer liberal v. conservative.

They are pro- and anti-democracy.
You fight disinformation the same way you strengthen democracy. I'll put a link in the next tweet.

This makes sense because rule of law (the authority underlying democracy) requires truth and shared facts.

Forms of government other than democracy depend on lies and myth ("The Great Leader Knows All" or "The king was chosen by the gods").

Here's how to strengthen democracy:
You can't meet liars halfway. What's the midpoint? A small lie?

The modern Republican Party isn't conservative. It's anti-democracy.

Democracy requires compromise.
You compromise with people who accept the truth but have different ideas for how to solve problems.

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More from @Teri_Kanefield

15 Mar
It's not a coincidence that the same people who spread disinformation are not interested in funding public schools.

While doing research for my book on disinformation, I learned about Kari Kivinen, a headteacher in Finland, who explained how Finland combats disinformation.


In math, they teach students how easy it is to lie with statistics.

In art, students learn how an image’s meaning can be manipulated.

In history, they analyze notable propaganda campaigns.

Language teachers show how words can be used to confuse, mislead, and deceive.

In primary schools, they use fairytales.

"Take the wily fox who always cheats other animals with his sly words. That’s not a bad metaphor for a certain kind of politician, is it?"

Read 7 tweets
12 Mar
Enough of the Reagan legacy that government is the problem.

The government is us and it's here for us.

"Smaller government" just means let greedy people (1) grab resources (2) privatize government functions and (3) cheat.

Alexander Hamilton understood that if the government does good things for people, they will come to have confidence in the government, and this will give the nation stability.

It's in one of the Federalist Papers. I quoted it in my book. I'm not at my desk or I'd give the #.
Read 4 tweets
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.…

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 20 tweets
9 Mar
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.
Read 4 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

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