Donald Trump, The Nazis, And The Violence Of The Mob
Back in August, when I first compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, the connections already seemed remarkable. Not only did Trump keep a copy of a book of Hitler’s speeches on his bedside table, whip up his audiences into frenzied fury against foreigners, and have a habit of evicting journalists from his public events, but Donald Trump came up with a plan to kick ethnic minorities out of the country, too, blaming them as scapegoats for all of America’s problems just as Adolf Hitler blamed the Jews and other non-Germans for Germany’s decline. To get more literal about it, Donald Trump has been picking up stronger support from America’s NeoNazi groups than any other presidential candidate.
Donald Trump’s supporters have begun shouting “White Power” at his campaign events. What could somebody do to counter this campaign of extremist nationalist hatred?
One response would be to remind Donald Trump’s supporters that people of non-European ancestry matter too. That’s what a Black Lives Matter activist did at a Donald Trump campaign event in Birmingham, Alabama. After the activist shouted, “Black lives matter,” Donald Trump shouted back from his podium, ordering his followers to “Get him the hell out of here!” Trump’s followers obeyed, grabbing the protester, pushing him to the floor, holding him down while punching and kicking him. Later, Donald Trump appeared on TV declare that the protester deserved what he got. “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” said Trump.
Saying that black lives matter is absolutely disgusting? That’s what Robert Kriger, founder of a Donald Trump super PAC, seems to believe. He told CNN that African-American protesters at Donald Trump events should expect to be violently attacked.
These racist brownshirt tactics from Trump supporters were followed by NeoNazi propaganda on Trump’s twitter account. Donald Trump retweeted a message from a NeoNazi, using a swastika for his account icon on Twitter, who says that Americans “should have listened to the Austrian chap with the little moustache”. The message Donald Trump retweeted claims that 81% of “whites” who are murdered in the United States are “killed by blacks”.
That statistic is astonishingly incorrect. In fact, if you’re going to divide Americans into “white” and ‘black”, then crime statistics show that 82.4 of “white” murder victims were killed by other “white” people. The 81% claim from the NeoNazi was 100% made up. Trump’s message passed on the claim that the 81% statistic came from the San Francisco Crime Statistics Bureau. There is no San Francisco Crime Statistics Bureau.
At the same event where Donald Trump encouraged supporters to beat up an African-American protester, he also called for the federal government to begin spying on Americans on the basis of religion, without any suspicion of criminal activities “I want surveillance of certain mosques if that’s OK,” Trump told the crowd of Alabama supporters.
Americans need to speak up today to tell Donald Trump that, no, conducting dragnet espionage against mosques is not OK. In the United States of America mobs do not get to decide who the police conduct search and seizure operations against. The Fourth Amendment is very clear about this matter. If they want to conduct surveillance, police have to go to a judge and present evidence against a specific person and a specific place, showing specific evidence that the person is likely to be involved in criminal activity.
Donald Trump’s call for massive government spying against American Muslims came just a day after Trump demanded that all Muslims in the United States be compelled to enter into a security database to enable the government to track their movements, and to carry mandatory identification cards showing their religious status. Trump also called for the federal government to begin forcing mosques in America to close. Critics have noted that this system is astonishingly similar to the system used to track and control Jews in Nazi Germany.
Somewhere, in the midst of all of this racist outbursts and furious demand for Big Brother spying, Donald Trump also joined Ben Carson in calling for the use of torture by the U.S. federal government.
So, comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler is not just based on a single event or impulsive statement. Trump has crafted a system of racist totalitarian nationalist policy similar to that of the Nazi Party over a long period of time.
The irony is that Trump’s supporters have justified these policies by saying that we are under attack, just like the world was under attack from Nazi Germany during World War II. Over the last week, Trump fans have exploited the terrorist attacks in Paris, France to promote Trump’s extreme agenda. They say that Muslims are on the verge of overrunning the United States, which is why extreme measures are called for.
A different kind of comparison to the events of World War II is more appropriate. Donald Trump and his supporters are saying that Americans must surrender their constitutional rights because of the terrorist attacks in Paris. But, how bad were the attacks in Paris, really, compared to what Paris faced during World War II?
130 people were killed on November 13. That’s bad. However, just within the legal boundaries of the city of Paris, the population is 2,240,621. In the metropolitan area of Paris, there are over 12 million people.
If 130 Parisians were killed every day, it would take more than 47 years for everyone in the city to be killed. Even then, there would be more than 10 million residents of the Paris metropolitan area left alive.
When Nazi Germany invaded France during World War II, they came with about 3,350,000 soldiers, they killed or wounded 360,000 Allied soldiers. There were about 10 attackers from the Islamic State in Paris a week and a half ago. They killed or wounded 498 people.
The terrorist attacks in Paris this month were terrible, but they weren’t on the scale of a major historical event. They weren’t of anything close to sufficient gravity to justify the abandonment of the Bill of Rights in the United States.
The attacks, after all, weren’t even in the United States.
Donald Trump and his supporters aren’t calling for the elimination of constitutional rights in the United States because the Paris attacks require such measures. They’re calling for the elimination of constitutional rights because it’s what they’ve wanted all along. The Paris Attacks are only giving them an excuse to openly talk of their darkest desires.
Donald Trump’s vision for America is so far outside our country’s democratic system of constitutional law that it is most fairly viewed as an attack against American values, rather than a defense of them. Donald Trump represents the most vicious and dangerous of political impulses present in the United States today.
In these circumstances, it is a grave responsibility for those Americans who still believe in the values of the Bill of Rights to take a public stand against the ugly Nazi politics of Donald Trump.
Let’s keep things in perspective. Donald Trump presents a much greater threat to the American way of life than the Islamic State’s attacks in Paris did.