Timothy Snyder: ‘A Failed Coup Is A Trial Run For A Successful Coup’

Timothy Snyder: ‘A Failed Coup Is A Trial Run For A Successful Coup’

In a chilling discussion with Ari Melber on Friday, Snyder said that Republicans today remind him of what Russians cynically call “the administrative resource.” It means that the GOP is providing “resources” to determine elections’ outcomes.

The Big Lie is one component of the effort, Snyder said.

SNYDER: What we’re looking at is people who believe in, or pretend to believe in this big lie actually carrying out our elections. And the problem with this, or one of them, is that since these people have already claimed that the other side cheated, that basically legitimates their cheat. In other words, if you talk about the big lie now, you’re basically promising to cheat the next time around. and that’s very concerning.

Then there’s the coordinated effort to use the “administrative resource.” Melber asked how worried Snyder is that we “could face a situation” where officials “could actually swing an election.” In short, we should all be very worried.

SNYDER: We don’t need the “could” phase. I would say we should be thinking about this as what is happening and then ask ourselves what we can do to prevent it. I mean, it’s very clear that some combination of people who talk about the big lie being in important administrative posts, along with non-legal or extralegal reviews of the election, perhaps along with the states claiming for themselves the right to allocate electoral votes against the wishes of their own people – some combination of that is clearly in the works, alongside voter suppression which has a long and dark history in our country.

The scenario for 2024, for most influential people around Donald Trump, which, unfortunately, means one of the political parties, is precisely to be installed without winning the election. That’s very consistent with everything Mr. Trump has ever said in 2016, 2020 and now. So I don’t think it’s something that could happen. I think it’s something under way. The question is, can we accept this reality in time to take the measures we need to take to prevent it?

Melber suggested that maybe Trump isn’t competent enough to actually steal the next election. “He had a lot of power as an incumbent president,” Melber pointed out, so why didn’t he start interfering in the voting processes sooner? “It almost seems like we watched someone lumber towards this type of chicanery,” Melber said.

Snyder did not seem to find that one bit reassuring.

SNYDER: When it comes to Mr. Trump and his coup style, I mean, what we know historically is a failed coup is a trial run for a successful coup. Usually, when you fail in a coup, something happens to you. And Mr. Trump, nothing has happened to him.

So, we’re now looking at a situation where instead of just a person who makes the kind of disorganized attempt relying on personal charisma and signals to his followers and a few people in the Justice Department and hope. We now have that person, plus a whole bunch of institutional machinery, plus a whole lot of time to plan. So that’s the scenario.

The reason why I would be more worried about 2024 than about 2020 is you have the person, plus the lie, which is new, plus the institutions which are getting worse.

Seems like a good time for the Democrats to pass voting rights legislation, eh?

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