Trump's lies will endure because right-wing media gave him the power to decide what's real: Yale historian
Donald Trump appears on Fox and Friends (Screen cap).

A Yale historian warned that Donald Trump and Mike Pence's continued lies about the election and failed Jan. 6 coup attempt were pushing the U.S. closer to tyranny.

Tim Snyder, a historian and author of the new book, "On Tyranny," has been sounding the alarm against encroaching authoritarianism since the early days of the Trump presidency, and he told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the threat had not passed.

"Democracy depends upon truth," Snyder said. "Democracy is a process of self-correction. Democracy depends on our ability as individuals and a society to reflect not just on what we did right but what we did wrong. On the other side, tyranny depends very often on a big lie, on an alternative reality, on something that divides friends from enemies, on something which allows people to permanently polarize, on something which allow a leader to become arbiter of what's real and what's not real."

"Unfortunately, Mr. Trump's claims about what happened in the last election constitute a big lie of that kind, so that now we have a political party, we have new laws, we have right-wing media which are inhabiting the alternative reality and trying to bring that reality closer to us," he added. "Unfortunately, we don't just have a problem with a person, we have a problem with a structure of the big lie, and this is one of the reasons why I wrote the book."

Trump's lies threaten democracy, Snyder said, whether or not he decides to run for re-election again.

"I wish there were one person or another person, but unfortunately the problems we have in the United States are much more structural," Snyder said. "We have an electoral system which is flawed and becoming more flawed, we have a political party using a big lie making it harder for people to vote and we have the precedent of January this year, which is very important, of an attempted coup d'etat by someone who is very much still in American politics. The big story the next four years is whether we can actually have a democratic presidential election in 2024."

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