More and more frequently, I read social media posts showing Hitler and Trump side by side. Despite the similarities, Trump isn’t Hitler. He has no intention of killing millions of innocents.
But that doesn’t mean we should just ignore their similarities:
- Elected by a minority of voters, Trump does not believe in democracy or democratic processes.
Trump has continually stated that he was elected in a “landslide.” The truth is that he lost the popular vote by 3 million and was installed by the Electoral College. While often criticizing democratic allies, Trump has complimented dictators on a continuing basis, including Russia’s Putin, North Korea’s Kim; Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro; the Philippine’s Duarte; the Saudi’s Crown Prince and Hungary’s Orbán. In July 2019, he tweeted about staying in office 10 or 14 years. Note: Trump’s supposed kidding and sarcasm is just his way of asking “how does my base feel about my latest suggestion?”.
- Trump ignores the majority of citizens, instead choosing to strengthen support in the core group of supporters who put him into office.
Trump has never been interested in uniting the nation behind a common set of lofty values. Trump obtained office via inciting fear in his “base” and promoting bigotry and tribalism, pitting older white citizens against the growing black and brown population of America. His support has never moved to over 50% since his selection by the Electoral College. His current (12-19) overall approval level is 45%; it was 45 % in January 2017 (Gallup). His approval level was 89% with GOP voters then and now, the primary factor Trump cares about.
- Creating and repeating lies is a core Trump strategy.
The Washington Post has documented over 10,000 lies by Trump since taking office. Politicians lie on occasion, but Trump has taken a page from successful dictators of the past. He zeroes in on a major theme, states his big lie, and then when it’s reported by his controlled media (Fox, etc.) says he heard it from others. Repeat, repeat, repeat. For example, falsely stating that the Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election and that Joe Biden somehow worked with that government.
- Establishing straw-men and then ridiculing them is a constant refrain.
Trump has a knack of knowing how to destroy the credibility of his enemies. One example is how he has named Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas”, destroying her reputation and negating all the positive things she has done in her career due to one mistake.
- Attacking the “elites” is effectively utilized as a continuing divisive tactic.
Trump is a billionaire with inherited wealth who attended Wharton, thanks to his father’s influence. But he has successfully attacked East Coast intellectuals who do not agree with him as “elitists.” He has effectively misportrayed himself as the friend of the working man, though his policies have done the opposite (for example, the Trump tax cut for the wealthy).
- Dehumanizing minorities is used over and over again to solidify support of the base.
Trump has stated that the immigrants coming in from Mexico are crime ridden, even though government statistics show the opposite. He’s called African nations “s***holes” and referred to a black supporter as “my African American.” Trump equated Charlottesville anti-racist protesters with violent white supremacists and neo-Nazis, calling these white power advocates “fine people.”
- Mass rallies are employed to create a “them versus us” frenzy.
From the day of his election, Trump has used taxpayer funds to have mass rallies all over the nation, sewing division, lies and hatred. He’s been protected by Secret Service agents in a scene that could have easily been taken from the novel “1984.”
- Despite the built-in checks and balances (three separate branches, the Electoral College, etc.), Trump has been creating an imperial Presidency.
Trump’s rapidly changing our nation for the worse, aided by “party before country” politicians like Mitch McConnell. McConnell’s preference to hold a trial without calling witnesses is just one example of Trump supporters ignoring the spirit of the Founding Fathers.
Trump has opened my eyes to the vulnerabilities of our republican form of government. I just hope others, especially independents who don’t follow politics closely, come to that realization before November. If not, Trump may be in office permanently.