Trump is following a tyrannical Putin strategy of increasing suffering and anger to win: Yale historian
President Donald Trump speaking at a tank factory. (Screenshot)

Yale Professor Timothy Snyder literally wrote the book on tyranny and authoritarian leadership and as he watches President Donald Trump he sees the GOP leader's 2020 campaign employing similar tactics.


Writing for the Washington Post on Labor Day, Snyder explained that in 2016 it became clear that chaos in the United States is bad for the country but great for Russia.

"Today, Trump faces a totally different situation in this campaign than he did in 2016, and he knows it," wrote Snyder. "Four years ago, he did not have to win. Had he lost, he could have claimed victory, mocked Hillary Clinton on Twitter, and schlocked his way to retirement. The carefree attitude he evinced back then is notably absent today. The advisers of 2016 are now convicted felons or charged with felonies. By now, Trump himself has been thoroughly investigated, and the prosecutors are lining up. Only the office of the presidency saves him, as he understands."

One thing that was evident at the Republican Convention was the dire picture the GOP painted of the U.S. under Trump's leadership. There were descriptions of apocalyptic communities burning under Trump's administration, while speakers claimed that would be the case under former Vice President Joe Biden.

"President Trump seems to believe that stirring up 'American carnage' benefits him. He imagines he’ll be better off as things get worse for the rest of us. Is that a winning strategy?" asked Snyder.

According to the polling after the Republican convention, it appears it has not been a winning strategy for the president.

"Like all authoritarians, he aims to die in a comfortable bed rather than in prison," Snyder explained. "He cannot bear to lose, and he is smart enough to know he is losing. Since he cannot coast and expect victory, he has two options: the democratic one of making things better to attract votes, and the lawless one of courting strife."

Snyder went on to explain that Trump is allowing COVID-19 to spread thanks to a conspiracy theory from an x-ray doctor pushing the strategy of "herd immunity," something that would kill Trump's own voters.

"The worse, the better: from the Leninists to the Putinists, one tyrannical tactic has remained the same — let people suffer, transform the anger into killing, blame an invisible conspiracy for your own deeds, and then try to pick up the pieces," said Snyder. It's a tactic that Trump is employing as part of his 2020 campaign strategy.

“'The worse, the better' means the worse for everyone else and the better for one man. Defeating the man and his tactic is a first step away from tyranny," Snyder closed.

Read the full column at the Washington Post.