October 25, 2021 Editor

Timothy Snyder: On Tyranny

WN: The video below is highly disturbing. It is an interview with Yale historian Timothy Snyder, author of the widely acclaimed study: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.

It is indeed ominous.

A portion of the transcript reads:

ARI MELBER: “When you see this effort to put this much pressure on installing partisan officials who’ve embraced lies and tried to overturn elections in these official positions for next election, how concerned should we be? What, if any, foreign analogs do you see?”

TIMOTHY SNYDER: “Well, as someone who follows contemporary Russia, there is a Russian phrase that comes to mind, which is ‘the administrative resource.’ What the administrative resource means in Russian is that, sure, you have an election, but the people who are running the election are going to determine how the election turns out. What the Republicans are going for is precisely that thing—the administrative resource.

Historically speaking, what we know about a big lie is that, because of its very scale, it’s not about truth or not-truth, it’s about living in a kind of alternative reality. And what we’re looking at is people who believe in or pretend to believe in this Big Lie actually carrying out our elections. And the problem with this, or one of them, is that, since these people have already claimed that the other side cheated, that basically legitimates their cheating. In other words, if you talk about the Big Lie now, you’re basically promising to cheat the next time around, and that’s very concerning.”

MELBER: “How worried are you that the United States could face a situation where coordinated efforts by these kind of officials could actually swing an election?”

SNYDER: “Oh, we don’t need the ‘could’ … I mean, I would say we should be thinking of this as what is happening, and then ask ourselves what we can do to prevent it. I mean, it’s very clear that some combination of people who talk about the Big Lie being in important administrative posts, along with nonlegal or extralegal reviews of the election, perhaps along with states claiming for themselves the right to allocate electoral votes against the wishes of their own people. Some combination of that is clearly in the works, alongside voter suppression, which has a long and dark history in our country.

The scenario for 2024, for most influential people around Donald Trump, which unfortunately means one of the political parties, is precisely to be installed without winning the election. That’s very consistent with everything Mr. Trump has ever said—in 2016, 2020, and now. So I don’t think it’s something that could happen; I think it’s something that’s underway, and the question is, can we accept this reality in time to take the measures we need to take to prevent it?”

Go to 4:50 for Snyder’s interview.

Then please read ‘s October 26, 2021 highly disturbing: An American Coup: A Recurring Nightmare?

We read in Tom Engelhardt‘s introduction:

Alfred McCoy, The Next Coup?

Don’t imagine that anything truly began at the Capitol on January 6th. Admittedly, as TomDispatch regular Alfred McCoy, author of the upcoming imperial history To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change, suggests, a coup attempt was indeed launched for the first time in this country (rather than in all the lands where the U.S. had been involved in similar planning and organizing since the 1950s). Still, if you focus on January 6th alone, it’s all too easy to forget that Donald Trump ran for president already focused on turning the American system upside down.

As another TomDispatch regular, Karen Greenberg, describes vividly in her new book, Subtle Tools: The Dismantling of American Democracy from the War on Terror to Donald Trump, Trump began casting doubt on the American electoral system as early as May 2016. Near the beginning of his Tweetarama then, he insisted: “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-in Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mailboxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.” By that summer, he was predicting nothing less than that the 2016 vote would be “the most INACCURATE AND FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote??”

Gaining the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, he similarly claimed that the election had been rigged against him, insisting that there had been “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California.” As he put it all too bluntly, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

So it went and so, in fact, it continues to go, or as he insisted recently, “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24.” So, give Donald Trump credit. When it comes to the American democratic system, the world’s least consistent human being has been a blindingly consistent potential coupster — and sadly, from here, if the Republicans take Congress in 2022, it can only get worse (and worse and WORSE!!). Let McCoy fill you in on what’s now become the most all-American never-ending coup attempt imaginable. Tom

And so we pray: Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.