The New Abnormal
The New Abnormal
Nov 16, 2020
TEASER: Masha Gessen: The Problem Is Not Russian Interference. It’s That We Let It In.
Play • 4 min

President Donald Trump may be following Vladimir Putin’s Autocratic playbook closer than we all realize—and the Russian interference was just the tip of the iceberg. In this bonus members-only episode of The New Abnormal, the New Yorker staff writer and Surviving Autocracy author Masha Gessen joins co-host Molly Jong-Fast to talk about this phenomenon. They explain that leaders like Trump and Putin put a system in place to hold power, and if you’re wondering how a man like Trump could do something so seemingly elaborate, it makes sense. “The destruction they wreak is all the more effective because of the incompetence,” Gessen explains. “They thrive on instability. The more anxious people are the less likely they are to opt for change ” Biden, they say, will have to dismantle this system (though they wish the president-elect would ditch the “Build Back Better” campaign). Why? For the same reason they dislike when people solely focus on Russian interference. “We've been very stupid to focus on it as much as we have,” Gessen explains. “The problem is not Russian interference, the problem is we sank so low to where Russian interference sank in.” Plus! Hear why they compare Trump to a ‘witch afraid of water’ when it comes to lawmakers of color like AOC and the late John Lewis.

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