What History Can Tell Us About The Insurrection At The U.S. Capitol : Throughline When a mob of pro-Trump supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, they also incited a defining moment in United States history. Now what? Historian Timothy Snyder talks to us about how we got here and what an insurrection could mean for the future of America.
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The Anatomy of Autocracy: Timothy Snyder

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The Anatomy of Autocracy: Timothy Snyder

The Anatomy of Autocracy: Timothy Snyder

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RAMTIN ARABLOUEI, HOST:

Back in November, a few weeks after the election, when it was clear that Joe Biden had won and that President Trump seemed like he was trying to reverse the results, I got a text from a friend. It read in all caps, we are in a coup. Being a habitual skeptic, honestly, I just laughed. I thought, yes, things are really wild. It's weird that the Republican Party is unable to process their electoral loss. But a coup d'etat? Come on. I was born in Iran, a country with a terrible history of political upheaval. It's shaped my entire life. This isn't that. Yet despite my skepticism, things got more serious.

RUND ABDELFATAH, HOST:

The terrible signs that something bad was coming started stacking up. More and more people questioned the election. Some were calling for an overthrow of the government. People seemed to get angrier by the day. The idea that we might not see a peaceful transfer of power got more and more commonplace.

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ABDELFATAH: And some historians and journalists were sounding the alarm. They saw the signs. They cited the history of other countries who had democratic systems that collapsed. When so many of us asked, can that really happen here? They answered, yes, it can.

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UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A.

ARABLOUEI: And finally, on January 6, those ominous predictions came true. A mob, incited by fiery political speeches and months of accusations that the presidential elections were rigged, stormed the Capitol with the aim of reversing the election by force. Five people died.

ABDELFATAH: It was a shock to so many Americans across the political spectrum. That question about whether it could happen here had an answer. Yes, it could. But maybe the question was the problem. Maybe the stubborn exceptionalism of living in a country that constantly bombards itself with positive tales of past greatness forced us to ask that question. Maybe it blinded us in a way it didn't blind some of those historians and journalists because they understood the lessons of history and could see things many of us could not.

ARABLOUEI: In the next two episodes of THROUGHLINE, we're going to take a big step back and have a conversation with two different experts from very different backgrounds about the larger historical forces that have brought us to this moment of division and dysfunction. Today, we start with a historian who has been warning serious political violence could happen here.

TIMOTHY SNYDER: Well, as you kindly remember, I was saying for months that something like this would happen. And I went to print in October, saying that if you vote for Trump, what you're doing is participating morally in a coup d'etat because a coup d'etat is going to follow his electoral defeat.

ARABLOUEI: This is Timothy Snyder.

SNYDER: I'm a history professor at Yale University.

ARABLOUEI: Timothy specializes in the history of fascism in 20th-century Europe. He wrote a book called "On Tyranny" and after the January 6 insurrection, published an essay in The New York Times called "The American Abyss."

SNYDER: January 6, honestly, for me, was a bit of an anticlimax because I - I mean, know is a strong word, but I would have been very surprised if it hadn't happened.

ABDELFATAH: We spoke with Timothy before President Biden's inauguration to try and understand his perspective on this moment and its historical context, to get away from quick reactions and take a more sober look at what is happening. But as Timothy reminded us, even that is not going to be easy.

SNYDER: As a proper historian, I can only say that, like, in 50 years, we'll understand it a lot better than we do now.

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ABDELFATAH: I'm Rund Abdelfatah.

ARABLOUEI: I'm Ramtin Arablouei.

ABDELFATAH: And on this episode of THROUGHLINE from NPR, the future of our past.

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MARY STUART: Hi. This is Mary Stuart (ph) from Albuquerque, N.M., and you are listening to THROUGHLINE from NPR. Thanks for the show, guys.

ARABLOUEI: We started off our conversation with Timothy Snyder, asking for his take on what happened on January 6. And he quickly pointed out a critique that directly confronted our work - journalism.

SNYDER: I think one thing that journalists are a little bit hesitant about these days is causality. So, you know, we live in this world where people get to say things and then things happen. But it's very hard to pin down accountability. People are very hesitant about making claims of causality. And the people who are trying to get bad things to happen take advantage of that by defending even the most atrocious form of incitement as free speech, right? So I think there's a certain hesitancy about writing about A causing B as opposed to there was A and then there was B.

And then I guess another thing, I mean, I write about the big lie, but there's no way that - there's just no way the big lie could have sustained itself just on the strength of Trump, despite the fact he has a huge megaphone, and he has a certain kind of charisma. A reason why the big lie lasted from November to January is that senators and members of Congress went along with it. They gave it those two months of life. Without that, this couldn't have happened, wouldn't have happened.

ABDELFATAH: And, Tim, can you break down for us what the big lie is?

SNYDER: Yeah. I mean, I got to say three things - the big lie, what Trump said, the big lie as a structure and then the big lie in U.S. history. The big lie that Mr. Trump uttered or utters over and over again is that he won the presidential election. Now, the reason why that's a big lie is that it's manifestly not true. A big lie structurally is a lie, a falsehood which is so grand that once - that if you believe in it, then you have to disbelieve everyone else. You have to start to think of the of the actual real world around you as a conspiracy which is denying your own true belief, the thing that you actually think is true. Now, a big lie often points to an enemy, as this one does. And this is how we get into American history. This is the third part of what I want to say about this.

What Mr. Trump is saying when he says fraud - is he saying Black people? And that's where we get into U.S. history. Now, Mr. Trump says, I lost in the cities. I lost in Philadelphia. I lost in Detroit. What he's really saying is that's the fault of Black people. Black people shouldn't vote. When he says he's the legitimate president, he won in a landslide - that's only true if you're only counting white people. And that's how this connects to U.S. history because all of U.S. history - I mean, since 1877, anyway - is this fight about who actually gets to vote and who actually is represented. Is it only white people or is it all American citizens?

And so Mr. Trump's big lie of today depends upon basically the central lie in the happy version of U.S. history, which is that everything's always been all right. We don't have this big problem of racism. We do have this big problem of racism. And we - if we lie to ourselves about history, then we end up with these big lies in the present.

ARABLOUEI: But, you know, sort of one piece of pushback on that point is that Donald Trump did better with people of color in the United States in this election. And there were people of color in that crowd, including some people who entered the building. Is there a danger in boiling it down to that narrative perhaps, and - or is there a danger in not boiling it down to that narrative, that, as you wrote in your essay, that this is kind of part of the long American argument about who deserves representation?

SNYDER: Of course there are large numbers of people of color and large numbers of African Americans who - in absolute numbers - who voted for Mr. Trump. There were certainly some people of color in that demonstration. Figuring out just what's going on in their minds, I think, is the work of reporters, right? But Mr. Trump's big lie is going to appeal to different people in different ways. What I'm confident in saying is that he's riding a particularly central wave in U.S. history when he makes the claim that I was done out of this election by fraud and referring to cities.

And, by the way, when Senator Cruz refers to 1877 as a model for what we should be doing now - right? - at the 1877 compromise was the political basis for the exclusion of African Americans from equal rights in American politics. So it's all kind of just there under the surface. And then, by the way, and we've already talked about this, but the people who are crashing the barriers and the people who are organizing for this were, in their vast majority, I think it's fair to say, white Americans.

ABDELFATAH: I want to take kind of a little bit of a step back because I think one of the things that we've been thinking a lot about is sort of, you know, this larger context this year that all of this is happening in. You know, we're seeing unemployment and depression, suicide, homelessness. We're in a pandemic. And I guess I wonder from that sort of pulled-back perspective how you see everything that the country is going through factoring into, you know, what played out on the day of the insurrection, but also what's played out more generally in terms of kind of the growth of this movement under Trump.

SNYDER: Yeah. I think that's a wonderful question. So people are vulnerable to big lies, and they're vulnerable to stories that make sense of everything when everything doesn't make sense and, in particular, when they themselves are isolated. So we've just gone through almost a year now where Americans have been isolated from one another in a way that I think it's fair to say none of us, at least collectively as a society, we haven't experienced before.

And being alone, just being physically separated from other people makes it less likely that you're going to remember other people's points of view or take them into account. And it makes it more likely, moving on to a second point, that you're going to be spending even more time in front of screens and that you're going to be exposed even more to what social media does to you, which is take your own inclinations and turn them into your own convictions, which is to find people, or usually algorithms, that are like-minded and echo back to you the things that you already think that you believe or that you think that you care for or are committed to.

And that relates to a deeper problem, which is the American information sphere. Much more important to our national security and our democracy than so many other things we spend billions of dollars on is the presence of factuality in American life. It's just much harder for big lies, conspiracy theories, polarizing arguments to get through to people if they're living in a world where they have local news, where they know reporters, where they're concerned about the things which actually matter to them, like is there mercury in my water, or is my school board corrupt, or is this new local politician taking bribes? Those are the things - the kinds of things that people used to know, and now we don't because most of the United States is now, technically speaking, a news desert. Americans on most of the territory of our country, especially the less populated parts of our country, are - basically have no choice but to be following the world by way of social media.

You know, and then I agree with the point about COVID, which I made in a couple of articles arguing that COVID made it more likely there would be some kind of political disaster. Or to put it more specifically, the negative emotions generated by COVID were not just a problem for Mr. Trump at the polls. They were. But those negative emotions could also be captured and directed in ways that Mr. Trump would like. And I think that's part of what's happened here.

ARABLOUEI: But, you know, to build on that, there - since the 2008 housing crisis, there does seem to be legitimate reasons why many people in America distrust elites and distrust the media and distrust the policy structure and the chattering class. How much do you think, given - from a historical perspective of what has happened in other countries in the past, how much does that alienation or that feeling of distrust feed into what we're seeing today?

SNYDER: I think you put it nicely. I mean, I think what's happened is that we're switching from being a trust society to a belief society. In a trust society, you realize that people have different views, but everyone has roughly the same access to the same sorts of information, and maybe even everyone has, at some basic level, similar commitments. And so you can trust a stranger, you can trust another American, if only for the purposes of a financial transaction or believing that your vote is going to count - right? - the little things like that which make a society go.

We're shifting into being a belief society where you don't recognize other people unless they already believe the things that you do. You're not willing to try to persuade them of the things that you believe. It's either yes or no. It's binary. You're with me, or you're against me. And this is connected to the media problems that we were talking about before. It's also connected, as I think you're suggesting, to inequality. When people talk about the media, they're talking about people who are far away - right? - who don't care about them, who are making lots of money showing up on television. And in some measure, I think they do have a point.

And I think, also, inequality plays into this because inequality makes it much harder for a lot of Americans to imagine that their children are going to have better lives than they did, which has always been the American dream. And, of course, you can try to solve that problem. You could support unions rather than breaking them. You could support health insurance rather than breaking it and so on. But what Mr. Trump has done with that problem is that he's encouraged people to personalize it. The reason why the American dream is dead is the migrants, or it's the Chinese or, you know, it's the, quote-unquote, "elites." The reason for it is affirmative action. The Black people are jumping the line. Those kinds of arguments personalize this experience of inequality and then turn it - you know, turn it towards this kind of angry, resentful politics.

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ARABLOUEI: When we come back, lessons we can and can't learn from the history of fascism in Europe.

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AARON: Hi. This is Aaron (ph) from Chicago, Ill. And you're listening to THROUGHLINE from NPR.

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ABDELFATAH: Over the last few weeks, we've seen dozens and dozens of historical hot takes about the political upheaval. People have drawn comparisons to pre-World War II Germany or Stalinist Russia or even the 19th-century United States. Timothy Snyder is actually an expert in interwar Germany and the Soviet Union, so he was the perfect person to ask this basic question that gets at the heart of what we grapple with on this show. How helpful or unhelpful is it to make direct historical parallels to the current moment?

SNYDER: My own view is that the - like, the more that you know about history as such, the less likely you are to be shocked or hoodwinked, especially in moments like this where something surprising has happened. In terms of the stuff that I know best, which is the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Eastern Europe, it, of course, doesn't make sense, in these cases or ever, to say history repeats - because if you say history repeats, you're basically saying what human beings do doesn't matter because somehow there are larger forces making things repeat. And that's just not true.

At every historical moment, there are individual decisions, which are unforeseeable and yet consequential. However, what you can use history to do is you can use it to see patterns. Right? So one pattern that you can see, for example, in interwar Germany is that political violence, if it's not substantially punished, will tend to repeat itself. Another pattern you can see in interwar Germany is that if paramilitary organizations get out of control, they end up shaping the political atmosphere and playing an intimidating part in elections, which is something Americans should think about for 2024. Another example, from interwar Germany is the relationship between conservatives and fascists, or Nazis in that case. You can call it the old right and the new right, if you want.

It was the case then, and it can be the case in the U.S. now that people who really are conservatives, who do have some set of values associated with the past, with tradition, with law, with stability and so on, do not recognize that people who claim to be like them are actually very, very different indeed. And then old right conservatives can end up making decisions that allow a new right - people who don't care about institutions, people who care about much more radical visions - can allow them to come to power. I mean, that's broadly speaking, the story of 1932 and 1933 in Germany.

And although, of course, America now is not Germany then, that's - you know, if I were a conservative, that's the kind of lesson I would want to keep in the back of my mind as a check on my own actions, right? Am I sure that this guy is like me? Should I really be trusting him? Should I be telling the same lies that he's telling? Or maybe I should make a break.

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ARABLOUEI: Specifically about something you just mentioned about the punishment - I think that's the term you used. Right now, I think people in America, including the political class, are figuring out how to respond to the - kind of the insurrection and the movement surrounding it. Specifically, what happened in post-World War I Germany that allowed kind of the rise of the Nazi party? Like, what lessons can we learn from how lenient or how severe the punishment was against kind of the ideology of fascism that was growing in the 1930s in Germany?

SNYDER: Yeah. I mean, honestly, I would rather answer that one just with respect to us because I think we have a specific problem in the United States with the impunity of people at a certain level of wealth and, in Mr. Trump's case, power - although it's blurred here. In part - we have a fairly functional rule of law society. But every American also knows that certain kinds of people aren't going to go to prison - or at least not for very long - for certain kinds of crimes, even though those crimes might be much worse than the sorts of crimes that other sorts of people will go to prison for for much longer terms.

And I think we're now seeing - you know, this has been true for a long time. And Mr. Trump basically up and said it - right? - when he says, I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and nothing would happen. And once people have that idea that I can't be punished, that spreads. The word punishment is probably not the right word. But the - that people should bear legal responsibility is very important. And Americans aren't going to take that seriously unless it starts from the top down.

Or put it a different way - I mean, part of Trump's magical appeal, part of his non-democratic appeal, his mythical appeal, his charismatic appeal and, frankly, his fascist appeal is this idea that he's above it all, that nothing bad can ever happen to him, that he has some kind of super power which prevents ordinary facts or ordinary laws from touching him. That's why I personally think it's important that this be proven not to be the case.

ABDELFATAH: I mean, even just the language you're using to describe him - almost mythical and kind of, like, almost bigger than life, right? I mean, I think this big lie, which we've described - which you've described, I mean, it becomes greater than the lie itself at a certain point, right? And it becomes greater than even the person who introduced the lie. And so I wonder what you think the power of the lie is, you know, with Trump out of office. Like, what does it become independent of him?

SNYDER: That's a great question because, of course, you're right that the big lie isn't necessarily connected forever with the liar. In Germany, there was a big lie about the end of the First World War. And the big lie was the Jews did it. We were courageously fighting on the trenches. But the Jews and the left, back behind the front lines, on the home front, they sold us out. They betrayed us. They stabbed us in the back. We never really lost this war. It was taken from us. That was a lie, which was told by a number of people in Germany starting in 1918, including Germany's highest commanders.

But notice, it's 15 years later when Hitler comes to power in 1933, and that lie still has legs. It's now become less about the individual commanders, the individual battles, and more about the general situation. Whenever we lose, it's because we were stabbed in the back by Jews. I mean, so sadly, what you're - what we're looking at now is Mr. Cruz and Mr. Hawley trying to take the big lie away from the big liar. They're trying to see if they can ride this particular myth that Mr. Trump was stabbed in the back and make it the Republicans were stabbed in the back. The real Americans were stabbed in the back - and then take on its mantle for themselves.

This is why it's - I mean, for me, it's so important that Republicans, whatever else they do, just start telling the simple truth about the election. Because if that part of the party, the part of the party which says we can only win with the big lie - if that part somehow prevails or if one of those candidates becomes the candidate in 2024, then we're going to be doing this all over again. If you're telling the big lie, you're basically saying, I'm willing to try to take power by non-democratic means.

ARABLOUEI: You know, related to that, one thing that's really interesting in terms of a parallel to Germany - and you talked about this a little bit - is that President Trump and his followers, but particularly President Trump, doesn't seem to have any cohesive ideology, like many fascist or pre-fascist movements did in the past. What do you make of that, that this has grown despite the fact that it doesn't really have, like, central tenets?

SNYDER: Yeah, I mean, that's - I think that's right, and I think that's one of - that is, as you say, one of the ways this is not like fascism. Fascism had a story about the future of the nation. I mean, it was - or the race really. It was a terrible, violent story. It involved war and seizing territory and driving away or exterminating others. But it was a kind of vision of the future. Trump has no vision of the future. That's really striking. And when I look at the seizure of the Capitol, I have trouble seeing a vision of the future in that, too, I mean, besides a future in which the same guy gets older and tells you the same lie for longer - right? - which isn't a particularly aesthetically impressive vision of the future.

So I think what we're finding out is a big lie can function basically without substance, you know, that it's more form than substance. It's about saying it's us against them. We know the real truth. They don't know the real truth. We're the ones who are suffering. They're not the ones who are suffering. If they say they're suffering, that's just a lie to distract from our own suffering. So it's much more - it turns out to be much more social than ideological. But I agree with you. It's really striking how there's no vision in this except if you accept this fiction, I'm going to give you more fiction.

Or even - I mean, to put it a little bit more dramatically, take some pain for me, and I'm going to give you some more pain down the line. And that's how we're all going to be happy.

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ABDELFATAH: How lessons from history might help us fix our damaged political system when we come back.

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GREGORY PINK: Hi. My name is Gregory Pink (ph). You're listening to THROUGHLINE from NPR. I love this show because it's consistent, and it's very informative. Been a fan since Day 1. Have a good day. Bye.

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ABDELFATAH: OK. So over the last year, Ramtin and I have both been struggling with the question of how useful it is to separate out the history of class and the history of race in America to understand our current moment. How related are they? How should we understand that relationship? So we put that question to Timothy Snyder.

SNYDER: Yeah. One of the reasons why I wanted to put race in the forefront of the conversation is that you can really only understand this kind of grievance if you have both inequality and race in mind at the same time. And here's why, I think. It's true that everybody in America has a harder time seeing a better future than, let's say, people did in 1980. Basically, whatever measure you want to take - we're doing worse in terms of income inequality. We're doing worse in terms of wealth inequality. We're doing worse in terms of the chances of children having better lives than their parents. You can kind of pick your measure of inequality and we're doing worse than we were doing 40 years ago.

However, the people who are most susceptible to seeing this as someone else's fault are people who express a certain kind of politics of grievance, right? So it's not - I mean, of course, there are exceptions, but it's not generally the Black people who say, because of economic inequality, I'm going to vote for Trump, right? I'm not saying that phenomenon doesn't exist, but it's not - I think it's fair to say not widespread. I think it's rather white folks who are used to having the system work for them who are more shocked when it doesn't work for them. And so they're the first ones to say, hey, you know, this isn't working. And they're - because they're used to things working, they may be more vulnerable to what are - I mean, honestly - less persuasive explanations for what's going on, namely that it's somebody else has taken it from you, right?

And so I absolutely agree. Without inequality, we wouldn't be where we are. But I think you have to address it both ways. I mean, this is an ongoing argument on the left, right? Is it inequality or is it race? And it's both. I mean, we have to address race by taking our own historical past seriously and drawing conclusions. We also have to address inequality by making rich people pay taxes. You know, that's the basic thing that we don't do. And we have to address inequality by having good enough health care, public schools, retirement pensions and so on that people have a more predictable life.

You know, basically, Americans' lives are just way too unpredictable. There's too much chaos going on anyway before you even get to COVID and, you know, attempted coups in the Capitol. And that's how inequality plays out, you know? It's the wealthy who are masters of what's going to happen - right? - in their own lives, most importantly. As you move down, there's - you get more and more unpredictability, but less and less ability to be confident. And you need a certain amount of confidence to take part in a democratic republic, a certain amount of dignity that comes from knowing...

ARABLOUEI: Yeah.

SNYDER: ...Like, with some confidence, what's going to happen next in life.

ABDELFATAH: Mmm hmm. (Laughter) Speaking of what happens next...

ARABLOUEI: (Laughter).

ABDELFATAH: ...I think that's something that we're all grappling with. What comes next? What do you do after there is an insurrection in the Capitol? When you have this movement that, as you say, is driven by a big lie that exists beyond the person who created it? What comes next?

SNYDER: So I'm going to wheel back to an example that nobody has heard of, which is Poland in 1922. In Poland in 1922, there was a presidential election. It was carried out in Parliament rather than directly. But in that presidential election, a candidate won basically because he had the votes of the center left and the votes of the national minorities. It was a narrow victory, but it was a clear victory. That victory was treated by the right-wing press as illegitimate. Abuse was heaped upon him. And a person who was, let's say, mentally vulnerable assassinated that president of Poland.

So here, you have a kind of object lesson in what you really shouldn't do. You know, you shouldn't say that people who win narrow victories or people who are elected by people who are different than you and so on are not legitimate. You shouldn't have media hate campaigns because people will take those seriously and act on them as we've just seen.

But as a historian, here's what I want to say about all that. There's a reason why you haven't heard of 1922 in Poland. And it's not just that it was 99 years ago and in a different country. It's that in the writing of Polish history itself, the story, important as it was, was never really treated as a serious turning point. It was treated as an aberration. And because it was treated as an aberration, people didn't take seriously enough the intolerance and, in this case, the anti-Semitism that had a lot to do with the event.

I'm going to make a very nerdy proposition here. I think it would be an excellent idea if President Biden would appoint some kind of blue-ribbon commission of forensics experts, national security experts, digital forensics experts, historians, activists and so on - you know, people of repute - to write a report in the first three months of his tenure in office about exactly what happened. A document, you know, which calmly and rationally and using all of the sources lays out a first draft of history of what actually happened because you need it for the future of the nation. You need it so that the nation knows how to tell its own story five years or 50 years down the line.

ABDELFATAH: I mean, where do you think all - as we've discussed, there's a lot of factors contributing to, you know, this politics of grievance that you've talked about. So now where do all these grievances and ideas go?

SNYDER: They're not going anywhere fast. There's no easy solution to this. I mean, I can point to three things, though, that are helpful. No. 1, you do sometimes need to be shocked. When you believe something that's very damaging and wrong, sometimes it helps to be shocked. I mean, in the fascist example, people stopped believing when the leader looked weak. And I'm afraid something like that is probably pretty important for Americans as well. You have to realize that this guy is not actually a demigod. You have to realize that he's just human and, you know, in some ways all too human.

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SNYDER: That kind of a shock, you know, the recognition that, oh, this person is not actually on an international selfless crusade to save us all from pedophilia - this is just kind of a guy. This is just a flawed person. So I think a shock is going to be necessary.

No. 2, the welfare state is really important. Health care is really important. Supplying people with health care isn't immediately going to change their political views, but it does create a sense of stability and predictability, which makes it easier for all of us to calm down and listen to one another. It reduces the amount of overall anxiety and fear, which is out there in our political ecosystem, and gives democracy something like a chance.

And the third thing I've already mentioned, people who have responsibility need to take responsibility and just speak the truth. I don't agree with Ben Sasse about a lot of things, but he's been telling the truth about the election, right? Liz Cheney has been telling the truth about the election. Mitt Romney has been telling the truth about the election. These people have taken responsibility, you know, for an affair larger than themselves and just spoken the truth. And if people speak the truth, it won't make, you know, those tens of millions of people go away, but it will make it harder for them to think everyone's on my side.

ARABLOUEI: That's Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University. The graphic novel version of his book, "On Tyranny," comes out in August.

MASHA GESSEN: When I talk about democracy, I think it's a direction. That country is either becoming more democratic or is becoming less democratic.

ARABLOUEI: On the next episode of THROUGHLINE, we continue our exploration of the United States's fractured political system with journalist Masha Gessen.

GESSEN: To countries becoming less democratic, it will eventually affect all of the people who live in the country. Something is either expanding or is getting smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller. The closer you are to the margins, the faster you're affected, the greater the impact on your freedoms and your ability to live. And then the closer you are to the center of power, the later you are going to be affected by this flesh-eating machine, but it will get you.

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ABDELFATAH: That's it for this week's show. I'm Rund Abdelfatah.

ARABLOUEI: I'm Ramtin Arablouei, and you've been listening to THROUGHLINE from NPR.

ABDELFATAH: This episode was produced by me.

ARABLOUEI: And me and...

JAMIE YORK, BYLINE: Jamie York.

LAWRENCE WU, BYLINE: Lawrence Wu.

LAINE KAPLAN-LEVENSON, BYLINE: Laine Kaplan-Levenson.

JULIE CAINE, BYLINE: Julie Caine.

VICTOR YVELLEZ, BYLINE: Victor Yvellez.

PARTH SHAH, BYLINE: Parth Shah.

ABDELFATAH: Fact-checking for this episode was done by Kevin Volkl.

ARABLOUEI: Thanks also to Yolanda Sangweni, Beth Donovan and Anya Grundmann.

ABDELFATAH: Our music was composed by Ramtin and his band Drop Electric, which includes...

ANYA MIZANI: Anya Mizani.

NAVID MARVI: Navid Marvi.

SHO FUJIWARA: Sho Fujiwara.

ARABLOUEI: Also next month, THROUGHLINE Trivia is back. We're celebrating Black History Month with three rounds of trivia inspired by some of our favorite THROUGHLINE episodes.

ABDELFATAH: Join us and our trusty co-host Terri Simon on Thursday, February 11 at 8 p.m. Eastern. RSVP and find all the info you need at nprpresents.org.

ARABLOUEI: Thanks to the History Channel's "The Food That Built America" for their support of this event. See you there.

ABDELFATAH: And, as always, if you have an idea or like something you heard on the show, email us at throughline@npr.org or hit us up on Twitter at @throughlinenpr.

ARABLOUEI: Thanks for listening.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON, BYLINE: A special thanks to the estate of Samir Naguib (ph) for helping to support this podcast.

ABDELFATAH: Ramtin, I have a confession. I like coffee now.

ARABLOUEI: Bro, what are you talking about?

ABDELFATAH: (Laughter).

ARABLOUEI: You literally said you hate coffee on this show.

ABDELFATAH: Yeah, but that all changed when I tried Brewline, THROUGHLINE's very own coffee.

ARABLOUEI: And you can get your own by visiting nprcoffeeclub.org.

ABDELFATAH: Brewline - even coffee haters love it.

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