Writing in the Washington Post this Monday, Ruth Ben-Ghiat says that the "authoritarian playbook has no chapter on failure," and that fact manifests itself perfectly in President Trump.
"Nothing prepares the ruler to see his propaganda ignored and his charismatic hold weaken until his own people turn against him, she writes, adding that for rulers with authoritarian inclinations, "loss of power looms as a kind of psychological annihilation — even as it also often evokes practical concerns about the end of immunity from prosecution for them and their families."
According to Ben-Ghiat, having everything is never enough for rulers like Trump, and as their cocoon thickens, they inevitably come to believe his own propaganda -- a phenomenon that leads to "psychological annihilation" when they're removed from power.
"It’s not surprising that most authoritarians leave office involuntarily," she writes. "The brutality and the arrogance that allow them to seize power leaves them ill-equipped to handle the downward arc of leadership. They experience decreasing popularity as a personal betrayal and often abandon their people, blaming them for the messes they themselves have caused."
Read the full op-ed over at The Washington Post.