Critics of former President Donald Trump — from liberals and progressives to centrist Democrats to right-wing Never Trump conservatives — were hoping that his influence on the Republican Party would go away after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20. Instead, Trumpism and the Big Lie are as toxic as ever. Historian Timothy Snyder, during a September 26 appearance on CNN's "Reliable Sources," warned that the Big Lie — the false and debunked claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump because of widespread voter fraud — is alive and well on right-wing media outlets. And he stressed that mainstream media outlets need to be much more aggressive in calling out the GOP's war on democracy and game plan for stealing the 2024 election.
Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University, told host Brian Stelter that thanks to the persistence of Big Lie, democracy itself is on the line in the United States. The historian stressed that the Trumpian attack on U.S. democracy didn't start with the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building.
Speaking from New Haven, Connecticut, Snyder told Stelter, "January 6 begins in 2016. Mr. Trump says, way back then, he's not going to respect the election results. When he's running for office in 2020, he says he's not going to respect the election results. What he's trying to do — what he's, in large measures, succeeded in doing — is creating an atmosphere, precisely, where people don't take the vote itself seriously. They take what he says about it seriously."
When Stelter asked Snyder what "role" right-wing media play in this "scenario," the historian responded, "Right-wing media, with a few honorable exceptions, is one giant safe space for the Big Lie. What's happened is that rather than facts coming up from below to shape stories, we now have one enormous fiction — which is that Mr. Trump won this election. And that one enormous fiction, rather than casting light on things, just casts a huge shadow. Anything that doesn't fit that fiction can't be talked about. Anything which seems like it might somehow support that fiction gets all the airtime."
Snyder's appearance on "Reliable Sources" came only three days after the Washington Post published a sobering essay/op-ed by Never Trump conservative Robert Kagan, who warned that "the United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War." Stelter mentioned Kagan's article to Snyder, who didn't find Kagan's dire warning to be the least bit alarmist. In fact, Stelter and Snyder seemed to agree that Kagan's warning is spot on.
Stelter asked Snyder if the mainstream media need to be spending more time talking about "worst-case scenarios" in the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election, and the historian responded, "Those aren't worst-case scenarios. That's the mainstream…. When you have a two-party system and one of the parties is lining up against democracy, we're not talking about a worst-case scenario — we're talking about a situation where democracy is not something that can be taken for granted as a background to all the other news. Democracy itself is the foreground, and the struggle as to whether this country as to whether this country will be democratic in the future…. is the main story…. The story is whether we have a democracy or not."
Echoing the warnings in Kagan's article, Snyder added that the GOP has a game plan for stealing the 2024 election.
Snyder told Stelter, "The game is we cast doubt on 2020, we pass voter suppression laws…. If we get ahold of the House and the Senate in 2022, we plan not to certify a Democrat if he wins in 2024. We pass memory laws and voter suppression laws at the state level which give the states themselves the right to allocate electors…. We do all of that to aim for an outcome in 2024 in which the guy who loses is nevertheless the winner…. That is not a worst-case scenario. That is happening before our eyes right now."
CNN / Reliable sources www.youtube.com