His election that November came as a surprise. The conservative intellectuals had made telling arguments against his racism and conspiracy thinking. Rival nationalists had mocked his affection for a foreign tyrant. Businessmen had explained that economic isolation could only harm an export economy. All to no avail.
His followers had faith, of course. They had roared at his rallies and echoed his slogans. They had come out to vote, in higher numbers than expected, especially working-class men and women.
…The terrorist attack came as a surprise.* It was unclear whether he planned this himself, but it hardly mattered. He blamed the left, banned its parties, and had its leaders put in camps.
…The legal stigmatization of a chosen minority had the political consequence of binding everyone else closer to the state. The moment citizens did not oppose this measure, they were in effect supporting it…
Timothy Snyder teaches history at Yale, and apparently also on some planet far far away.