George Lucas liked to say in promoting the film that the failed democracies of history were often not taken over by autocrats, but given away to them with popular support. This is true. However, it’s worth looking at what precipitated the “thunderous applause” in the first place. What gave Chancellor Palpatine the mandate to end democracy and the Jedi Order in one fell swoop?
The Jedi attempted what can only be described as a coup, a forceful removal of Palpatine with the intent to take control of the Senate temporarily. It’s hard to encapsulate just how wrong-headed this was for the Jedi to attempt. They did so on the grounds that Palpatine was a Sith Lord and playing both sides in a galactic civil war. Instead of taking what evidence they had and presenting it to the Senate, which would presumably launch investigations, they moved to depose him immediately. It’s reasonable to conclude that they viewed Palpatine as illegitimate not chiefly because he orchestrated a phony war, but because of his religious affiliation as a Sith, the Jedi’s mortal enemies.