Donald Trump And Adolf Hitler
I was originally going to write this article about just one specific topic: Donald Trump’s attempts to censor journalist Jorge Ramos. However, once I started to write, I began to see a disturbing larger picture.
The more I learn about Donald Trump, the more he reminds me of Adolf Hitler.
I know, that sounds like a rash thing to say, but take a moment to consider Trump’s behavior.
Let’s start with the Ramos incident yesterday. At a press conference yesterday, Jorge Ramos from Univision was recognized and began to ask a question about Trump’s promise to deport millions of people from the United States if he is elected President. Trump didn’t like the question, and so interrupted Ramos and signaled for a security guard to evict the reporter from the room.
“He didn’t like my question and when he didn’t like my question then he motioned so the one security guard would come where I was and then threw me out of the press conference,” said Ramos in an interview afterwards. “As journalists, we have to denounce… the dangerous words and extreme behavior of Donald Trump.”
Extreme behavior, indeed. Presidential candidates don’t have a history of forcefully ejecting reporters from press conferences. Jorge Ramos wasn’t threatening Donald Trump with anything other than a request for information. In Trump’s world, just asking for an explanation is intolerable. Trump is a bully who uses his power to silence others.
It’s going too far to say that just any old powerful bully is like Adolf Hitler, of course.
So, let’s consider the content of the question Jorge Ramos attempted to ask. Donald Trump doesn’t want to limit the eviction of Latinos to just one journalist. He’s got a plan to deport millions of children with American citizenship, just because of the Latino heritage of their parents. “They have to go. We either have a country, or we don’t have a country,” Trump says.
Of course, we do have a country. Our country is defined by its Constitution. Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution makes the standard of citizenship in the United States very clear: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” If you’re born here, you’re a citizen. Donald Trump wants to take that constitutional right away from Latino citizens of the United States.
There are superficial similarities between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. Trump’s use of wild, angry gesticulations and shouting at the podium to whip up audiences of his supporters is straight out of Hitler’s playbook.
The anger of Donald Trump is infectious too, in a frightening way. Hitler could never have risen to power without his brownshirts, gangs of Nazis who went out and delivered intimidation and violence on the streets. Donald Trump has among his followers those who would become his own version of the brownshirts, including a man in Boston who brutally attacked an Hispanic man, and justified the violence by saying “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” When Trump heard about the attack, he told reporters, “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
Passion among his followers has led some people to begin shouting “White Power” at Trump campaign events.
This kind of violent nationalism, the idea that a country can be made great by abusing people of a certain ethnicity, is classic Hitler. Just as Hitler targeted the Jews, Trump has selected Latinos as an ethnic minority as a scapegoat responsible for every problem in the United States. Trump says he can’t even talk about other policies until a gigantic wall is built along the southern border of the US to keep Latinos out.
Just as Adolf Hitler’s followers used an elaborate system of conspiracy theories to accuse Jews of doing everything from hoarding wealth to drinking the blood of German children, Donald Trump’s followers are spreading their own hateful mythology to justify Trump’s extreme plans to deprive Latino Americans of their rights.
Prime among these is the belief that illegal border crossings from Mexico are an increasing problem, when, in fact, for the last eight years, border crossings have been in decline. There is no crisis of illegal immigration.
Yet, Trump supporters spread wild stories about immigrants from Latin America flooding across the border, and then being coddled by border patrol agents who have been allowed to grow too soft. Just yesterday, a Trump supporter from among our own readers tried to convince us that when people who cross the border illegally are deported, they are sent back to their countries of origin aboard cushy luxury airplanes, all paid for by American taxpayers. It’s not true. There is no evidence that any such thing is taking place.
Evidence isn’t needed for these conspiracy theories, because they feel right to Trump followers, just as wild tales of bloodthirsty Jews felt right to pro-Nazi Germans. Donald Trump encourages these untrue stories, and even lashes out against people for marrying Mexican citizens, as if U.S. citizenship is polluted by Latino genetics.
Comparing a political leader to Adolf Hitler is an extreme thing to do, and it shouldn’t be done lightly. However, when a political leader uses tactics and ideology akin to that of the Nazis as tools for gaining more power, it’s our responsibility to speak out about what’s going on.
To be fair, Donald Trump is not calling for the mass killing of Latinos. On the other hand, Adolf Hitler didn’t begin his political career by calling for the mass killing of Jews. Violent extremist nationalism doesn’t begin with giant book burnings. It begins with the kinds of tactics that Donald Trump is using to gain support from angry Republican voters.
These tactics are something that Trump should be familiar with, given reports from Trump’s ex-wife that he kept a book of Hitler’s speeches on a bedside table.
It has been said by many people that we don’t really need to worry about Donald Trump, because he’s just a clown whose political support can’t be sustained. People said the same kind of things about Adolf Hitler in the beginning.
I don’t want to look back, years from now, and have to admit to myself that I didn’t speak out against Donald Trump’s hateful extremism early enough. I believe that the American people can take effective action to nip Trump’s anglo-American nationalist campaign in the bud, before it can do lasting harm.
To that end, I have a plan… More on that tomorrow.