Clearly the book is written by an intelligent, thoughtful man, but it is really had to get past the progressive mindset - the knee-jerk, over-the-top Trump hatred and the blinders that progressives wear. There may be some fine nuggets of wisdom in the book, which I haven't read, but I'll just address the things from this review.
Yes, Trump is a nationalist. But why do people stop their analysis there? Shouldn't globalism be a dimension of modern day technology and private trade, while governments should only tend to the application of laws within their national boundries? In other words isn't globalism good for the private sphere but not necessarily so for government? Isn't "America First" a good slogan for the purpose of government? The alternative is global redistribution, and/or rule over American citizens by international organizations with no representation, and/or being a world policeman - none of those are good. (I don't agree with the policy of tariffs - they are not good for America.) To my mind a rational nationalism just means recognizing that a nation's government should be restricted to its proper jurisidiction and the purpose of protecting the rights of its citizens and nothing more. That Trump has occassioned a questioning of the progressives views on globalism is a good thing.
Chapter 6: Be wary of paramilitaries
He does not identify the Occupy movement of the left as a paramilitary, but neither does he dwell on the many “citizen militias” of the right. Snyder’s concern is with the crowd control at the Trump campaign rallies in 2016. I found that less salient. Hecklers are there to disrupt, not to engage in dialog. In effect, they are thieves who violate property rights, denying access to the venue that was paid for by the candidate and the supporters.
That is well put and on target. But Snyder goes on to say, "The SS began as an organization outside the law, became an organization that transcended the law, and ended up as an organization that undid the law.”
This is a nutty allusion to Trump supporters being the vanguard of neo-nazism. As if, Trump were so evil that his existence will inevitably germinate into full-blown Nazi totalitarianism. Nutty!
There were disrupters (who instigated violence) and on occasion they managed to start a fight with supporters - we are talking a few scuffles. And, sometimes, people were put out of a rally for attempting to disrupt it. But to equate fighting back or removing disrupters from the hall with the SS is outrageous nonsense.
At this point, the few untutored and angry members of the right are mostly unorganized and lashing out against decades long losses in liberty and the condescending attitude of those who want to tell them what light bulbs they can use, how much water their toilet may use, and what health care they will recieve and all the while calling them irredeemible, racist deplorables.
It is the left, the progressives that are seeking to control all things and are organized and pushing legislation and actively plotting to transform the culture and bypass the constitution. (True, There are religious right-wingers who want to impose biblical restraints, usually on things relating to sex. They should be stopped, but they are like a laughable, amateur-hour act compared to the progressives).
If Synder is attempting to put the locus of blame on "patriotism" and some kind of crowd-sourced violence arising from the ground up, instead of putting the blame on the philosophy of this or that totalitarian belief system, then he is using words to fashion a fantasy argument that is not connected to reality. I guess if people acquire, by some kind of social osmosis, the hatred for Trump, then they leave themselves vulnerable to this kind of illogical argument.
Synder sees globalization as good, but apparently without specifying the key difference between simple free trade by private citizens which has transformed due to technology, and the onerous loss of individual soveriegnty that comes with global governance or the horrors of military interventionism. He likens progressivism to "deepening reason" which is blind partisan faith in government by elites - and it harkens back to the old Marxist claims of a 'scientific' approach to governing. He has swallowed the bald assertion that big government and its regulations will lead to growing prosperity.
He calls liberalism teleology. I call it a false promise that masks a drive towards a form of totalitarianism.
His description of conservatives is strange to say the least - a peculiar emotional rendering that is mostly devoid of reality. Depending upon which brand of conservative you are talking about there are many flaws to be found, but none of them are found in Synder's rendition.