Yale historian Timothy Snyder, an expert on the Holocaust and authoritarian regimes, has issued a dire warning on the state of American democracy at this moment, and it's disturbing.
Snyder, who has written around nine books books on the subject and era, compares the January 6 insurrection with 9/11.
He writes, "it is so obvious where all of this is heading. President Trump tells a big lie that elections are rigged. This authorizes him and others to seek power in extra-democratic ways. The lie is institutionalized by state legislation that suppresses voting, and that gives state legislatures themselves the right to decide how to allocate the electoral vote in presidential elections."
The scenario then goes like this. The Republicans win back the House and Senate in 2022, in part thanks to voter suppression. The Republican candidate in 2024 loses the popular vote by several million and the electoral vote by the margin of a few states. State legislatures, claiming fraud, alter the electoral count vote. The House and Senate accept that altered count. The losing candidate becomes the president. We no longer have "democratically elected government." And people are angry.
Snyder, who has written book with titles including, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, and Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, adds that "No one is seeking to hide that this is the plan."
While he doesn't name it, Snyder seems to suggest that HR1/S1, the "For the People Act" is the only way to stop this takeover of America by Republicans.
When Trump told his big lie, the airplane hit the building. What unfolds from there has a certain logic. It can be stopped, but only if it is understood. Everything happens fast. It is so easy to look away, to imagine it was all an accident, to think that institutions will save us. They will only save us if we save them first.
The anti-voter laws proposed and passed by Republican state legislatures around the country move the scenario to its next step. Halting them might well be the only way to halt the scenario as a whole.
Noted journalism professor Jay Rosen endorses Snyder's warning:
I agree with Timothy Snyder. This is where it's going, and there is presently nothing on the horizon that would stop it. https://t.co/osvhqph8IN pic.twitter.com/7NPzevHtZv
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) June 6, 2021
Read Snyder's entire essay here.