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Post No. 25587626
Is it safe to assume that by the events of Episode 7, the New Republic had already been declining for some time, with the First Order riding a general wave of discontent and uncertainty?
Seems like the Order was already on its way to being the most dominant political force in the galaxy, with the Republic maybe never actually taking off because its leaders were only any good at being resistance fighters, unable fill the power vacuum and return the old system to its former glory. They may have even intentionally tried to be less centralized so people wouldn't think they were forging yet another empire.
This would help explain why the Resistance was probably the only major force left opposing the Order, with secret backing by a waning, impotent and woefully disorganized Republic.
That was my impression anyway. Seems like the Republic went too soft on former Imperials and other renegade threats, while not being all that effective at governing themselves.
Without strong and decisive leadership, systems eventually started turning back to fascism.