- No matter how illiberal you are, first you need to get into power, play by the old rules and win an election. You have a good shot at this, if the voters grew to hate the old political elite, and want back the old glory days (which were probably not glorious, but voters have short memory). This can happen after a decade of economic and political upheaval, as was the case in Russia, or after the previous government has lost all credibility, as it did in Hungary.
Of course, it helps if the entire political system has not yet developed a strong immune system, be it because democratic institutions and traditions are new, as in Russia and Eastern Europe, or because of repeated military coups, as in Turkey.
You could ask what has happened in Poland, where the government of the Civic Platform party lost elections despite producing an eye-watering GDP growth of 3.5 percent, one of the highest in the EU, and providing political stability. The reasons are manifold, but one should never underestimate the irrational elements in a voter’s decision, such as anxiety about Russia, or the massive wave of migrants. In any case, you need a story, a good narrative to engage people’s feelings, and, it seems, Civic Platform failed to provide that.
Use your electoral victory as a general mandate for everything you want to do. If someone tries to criticise you, just say you are only fulfilling the wishes of the electorate.
Any poles* on Hubski? What is your take on what's happening right now?
* At first i wrote polacks, I was unaware of it being a slur in English. It's a neutral word in the Scandinavian languages.