Thus, we’re not witnessing a usurper regime imposing unpopular measures on a resistant but helpless citizenry. We’re more likely witnessing widespread mob rule, the central characteristic of which is rule by the majority with no regard for the rights of dissenting minorities. The government may now be ruling by decree, but it is in many places doing so with the hearty approval of the majority. Politicians have calculated that they’re likely to remain popular so long as they cultivate an image of “decisive leadership” through strong decrees and demands for compliance in the name of safety. As Cuomo’s surging popularity suggests, this may be a safe political move.