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Trump and Fascism, A Retrospective Series, 2011-2020, Part Three: "Hair Trump or Herr Trump?"

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"Either this nation will kill racism, or racism will kill this nation." (S. Jonas, Aug., 2018)

Donald Trump.  Ah, the comparisons!
Donald Trump. Ah, the comparisons!
(Image by Renegade98)
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This is the third Part in my "Trump and Fascism: A Retrospective Series," originally published on Buzzflash.com. The first part ran about three weeks ago (Click Here ) and the second (Click Here) about ten days ago. Now, going into the Impeachment Trial, I will be posting the remaining four in the series on consecutive days here at OpEdNews, starting today. On the fifth day, appropriately, I should think, in the middle of the trial, I will run another column first published by me on Buzzflash.com: "Trump Wins" (not at impeachment, but rather if he had succeeded in his goal for that day, that is to reverse the legal outcome of the election). And so, here is my very first column on the links between Trump and Fascism, entitled "Hair Trump or Herr Trump?" (The original version was published in 2015 at: Click Here.)

(For the introduction to this archival series see "Donald J. Trump: On the Road from Racism to Fascism, 2011-2020")

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In the U.S. anything goes. Given the appalling level of political illiteracy in the political class and media, not to mention the masses, so you can believe that, yes, there is now an increasing amount of speculation --- the new "buzz" --- that Donald Trump has one or more characteristics in common with the German Nazi Chancellor/President/Dictator (yes, he was all of those things) Adolf Hitler. The Web is indeed suddenly crawling with images of Trump as Hitler --- the idea has apparently caught on. To what extent this is the weight of the establishment attempting to quash Trump as an unwelcome messenger is anybody's guess at this time. And there has been at least one plea to stop doing so. So, I thought, I might as well enter the game.

First, the similarities. There's the racism, the xenophobia, and in Trump's case, substituting for Hitler's extreme prejudice against one religious grouping, the Jews, it's another, the Muslims. There's the speaking style (although Hitler's was apparently well-practiced, while Trump's apparently isn't), and with it the ability to whip up the right audiences into a frenzy. There's the frequent name-calling in re opponents.

There's the "our nation must be great again" although Germany had lost the last big war it fought, and while the U.S. cannot be said to have "won" the last big one it engaged in, the War on Iraq, while millions of people on the region have clearly lost much, starting with their lives, militarily at least the U.S. did not lose. But that doesn't stop Trump from trumpeting on that one, just like Hitler did. For Hitler, after the Jews, the Great Enemy was "Soviet Bolshevism." For Trump it seems to be Russia (although I do think that bunches of U.S. persons are confused on that point, especially with the constant demonization of Russian President Putin [the new "Stalin", of course]). (And yes folks, on a newscast on MSNBC on the morning of October 1, 2015 I actually heard a reporter refer to Russia as "the Soviet Union," not once but twice, before she caught herself. Well, you know there's that new Steven Spielberg movie about Gary Powers and the swap coming out.)

Then there are the vague promises of a great future, without telling much about exactly how they planned/plan to get there. There's the ample use of the Big Lie Technique (but that it common to all of the current crop of Republican leaders, and the entire political class in America). There are others too, but among the most important, a characteristic that kept/keeps both men going is that they didn't/don't embarrass. They never had/have to apologize, explain, defend. They were/are the prefect avatars of Lee Atwater's consummate principle of politics: "Always attack; never defend." (Would that the Democrats would learn this principle, but that's another story.) Finally, it is clear that Trump just loves personal power, just like Hitler did.

Now for the differences. First, as most readers of this site are well aware, Trump does not have nearly the mass following that Hitler had. While before the functional coup d'etat of January 30-31, 1933, Hitler's Nazi Party did never command more than about 37% of the vote (in a country where most people voted), Trump has only gotten into the 30's, of Republican voters, which amounts to about 15% of the total. Of course, we do have to remember that in a Presidential election, only about 50% of the eligibles vote and in 2016, Republican voter suppression will begin to exact a major impact on the number of Democratic votes recorded.

Second, Trump does not have a mass, very well-organized political party behind him, personally. For Hitler the National Socialist German Workers Party (yes, hard to believe, but that was indeed the literal translation of what "Nazi" in German stood for, a calculated move to steal some wind from the socialists' sails and other genuine workers' formations) provided huge electoral clout in the localities in which it was powerful. If Trump does get the Repub. nomination, we really don't know what the National Republican Party will do for him. But whatever that would be, it could not compare to the personally loyal Nazi Partei.

Third, Hitler had a huge (up to three million part-timers strong) private army, the "Sturmabteilung," the SA, the Storm Troopers, the much feared and despised --- and in other quarters admired --- "Brownshirts." They were his enforcers, frequently engaging in violence against his primary opponents, the Communists and the Socialists. As documented by numerous historians and journalists, the NSDAP was cradled from inception by the Reichswehr and paid for from the beginning by major members of the German ruling class led by the steel magnate Friedrich "Fritz" Thyssen. (An early [1923] foreign supporter of the Nazis was a U.S. person named George Herbert Walker. [Sound familiar?]) Trump has nothing like this. But since there is no organized resistance at present to the kind of long-term authoritarian threat that Trump might become or suggest to better skilled politicosin the future, that is immaterial.

Fourth, one huge (huuuuge[!]) difference in practice is that while Hitler was arguably the world's greatest Keynesian political economist, in terms of the government's role in making the economy hum, Trump would likely be as far away from that as he possibly could, although possibly not for infrastructure, which might be as big for Trump as it was for Hitler (except that Trump would likely attempt to privatize any major expansion).

Fifth, as far as we can tell so far, Trump has no Thyssen equivalents. He is wealthy (although it is not known for sure just how wealthy he is). And he seemsas part of his calculated appeal of being "unbribable" not to be seeking outside ruling class money, so we don't know how much he could attract.

Finally, and this is certainly another major difference, obvious to many here but important to note for the record, Trump seems to have no firm belief system. Presently, he is of course riding racism of two types: a) no one who supports him has forgotten his racism-based "birtherism," you can count on that, and b) of course the anti-Latino (especially Mexican for some unknown reason maybe because they are the closest ones) variety. His tax plan clearly benefits the wealthy (including himself) even more than they are already benefitted. His xenophobia is right out front see his attack on the Syrian refugees. He has grandiose ideas for "making America great again" (as if it were not, militarily at least, right now) but, characteristically, has given no clear ideas on how will do that, on either the financial or the military side. And so on and so forth.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
 
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