Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 46 Share on Twitter 2 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/9/21

"Trumpite Fascism: How the Nation Might Get There, with Some Lessons from Nazi Germany," Part 5 of a Retro. Series

Follow Me on Twitter     Message Steven Jonas
Become a Fan
  (20 fans)


"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)

Paul von Hindenburg.  He put Hitler in power.  But he did have a nice mustache.
Paul von Hindenburg. He put Hitler in power. But he did have a nice mustache.
(Image by Wikipedia (, Author: Nicola Perscheid (1864-1930) Restoration by   Details   Source   DMCA


This is the fifth part in my "Trump and Fascism: A Retrospective Series," originally published on The first part ran about three weeks ago, the second part about ten days ago, the third part two days ago, and the fourth part yesterday. Going into the beginning of the Impeachment Trial here's the fifth part (originally published in 2019). By-the-by, considering the prime argument of Trump's "lawyers" (really classic Right-wing "Always attack; never defenders") that what Trump said was protected as "free speech," I wonder just what they would regard as inflammatory speech, not, in their view, protected by the First Amendment. (See Part 4 for a further discussion of this point, like falsely yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre would be OK? )

For the introduction to this archival series see "Donald J. Trump: On the Road from Racism to Fascism, 2011-2020". And now to today's column which, again, was originally published on June 4, 2019.

A German Introduction

Adolf Hitler, head of the German Nazi party (that is the mis-named "Nationla Socailist German Workers Party"), was appointed Chancellor (Prime Minister) of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg on January 30, 1933. The Nazis, although powerful, were still not the dominant political party in Germany of the time. In fact, there was no dominant political party at that time.

In elections to the Reichstag (the German Parliament) after the Nazis became an important national party in the late 1920s, they regularly ran some somewhere between 32 and 37 percent of the vote (sound familiar?). But they were loud, and they had a large private army, the Sturmabteilung (SA), behind them. They also had significant ruling class support, from the likes of the steel baron Fritz Thyssen (who as readers of my columns know well raised money for the Nazis abroad from such folks as the US George Herbert Walker [sound familiar?]).

In 1933 Germany was in serious trouble, what with the Depression and the continuing very onerous reparations payments to the Western Powers which had been victorious in the First World War. It also had a powerful genuine labor movement and two powerful left-wing political parties, the Communists (KPD) and the Socialists (SPD). They should have been allied against their common enemy, Hitler and the Nazis. But for historical reasons dating back to World War I they weren't. As well, the KPD was part of the Moscow-based Comintern (Communist International) whose policies were set from Moscow. Stalin described the SPD as "Social Fascists." And so, there was no alliance (which eventually proved fatal --- literally for many Communists and Socialists alike --- in the next dozen years). At the time, facing increasing unrest from both the Right and the Left, Hindenburg was reluctantly prevailed upon to appoint Hitler as Chancellor.

Two former right-wing Chancellors, Kurt von Schleicher and Franz von Papen, thought they could "keep Hitler under control," which influenced the decision of von Hindenburg ("von" indicated Prussian nobility). He was very reluctant to appoint the Austrian "Little Corporal" to the post. But with the guarantees from the traditional Right he did. Once in power, however, Hitler started using it with a vengeance, beginning with locking up Communists on the night of his accession to the post. And then, neither von Schleicher nor von Papen were successful in "controlling" Hitler. The former first actively tried to control Hitler's worst excesses, then tried to get him deposed. Von Schleicher was murdered by the Nazis on June 30, 1934, "The Night of the Long Knives." Von Papen, simply marginalized by Hitler, survived the war. He did manage to escape any meaningful judgment/punishment after it. Which brings us to our time, and what is almost certain to happen should Trump win re-election in 2020.

Trump in Trouble, and Getting Out of It

Trump and his allies, on both the Right and (sadly) on the Left are working day and night in the attacks on Mueller and his Report and the countless other evidence of both collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and Trump's efforts to obstruct justice in re the Report. (And after all, if there were no truth to it, why would Trump have fought so hard to derail it and is now, with his in-house lawyer Bill Barr, fighting so hard to dis-credit it.) The on-paper evidence against Trump and his personal crimes on a variety of fronts is building up. For example: although Trump is fighting hard to prevent their total release, New York State Attorney General Letitia James apparently has copies of at least some of the Trump/Deutsche Bank documents.

Trump's appeal of a court decision ordering the release to the House of records from his financial services firm, Mazars USA LLP, has been sped up. The House Intelligence Committee will be able to see major redacted portions of the Mueller Report, other than Grand Jury proceedings. The TrumpublicansĂ‚ © on that Committee want to see the documents too, which indicates that they think that there is something in them that they can use for Trump's defense. Either they will lie about it (so what else is new?) or be extremely disappointed.

Mueller is likely to testify behind closed doors to the House Judiciary Committee, which will shed a lot more light on his motivation(s) in doing what he did with the information he gathered. Then there is the tape of the Flynn-Kisliak conversation that got Flynn fired (eventually) which a judge has ordered the Justice Department to release. So far, they have refused. We'll see if Barr can hold on to that position (which is a very odd one for an Attorney General to take, but of course Barr is a very odd Attorney General). The reason they don't want it public is most likely because it would show not only that Flynn talked openly with Kisliak about lifting sanctions, but that he also made clear that he was authorized to do so by Trump. Oooops!

Trump Gets Out of It, and Then

But supposing that Trump and his allies are indeed successful in fending off the results of the investigations (and there are more than just those of Mueller, e.g., Roger Stone will go on trial in October, unless Barr shuts that down, which he very well might, and there's that bunch of sealed indictments, sent off to other Federal jurisdictions), the release of vital documents, like his tax returns, and so on and so forth. And so on and so forth, further. But then suppose, just suppose that the Democrats manage totally to screw up their chances to beat him in 2020, just as Hillary, with a big assist from Jim Comey, did in 2016.

What will the country begin to look like, very quickly? The word "fascism," which I have been associating with Trump for some time now (as have others as well, of course) comes to mind. First of all, Trump will continue to have his facilitators, like von Schleicher and von Papen, in the persons of folks like Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell. Neither like him much, but both are sticking close to him because they like his policies and certainly don't want the Democrats to be able to take over the whole government.

One way or another, the Right-Wing majority of the Supreme Court would quickly grow to 7-2 (if it doesn't get there already between now and Election Day, 2020). Even if he were so inclined, for whatever reason, John Roberts will thus not become any kind of "swing" on an otherwise evenly divided Court. The vast right-wing infestation of the lower Federal courts engineered by Don McGahn and Mitch McConnell will begin to take hold. Rulings to date against Trump on both personal and governmental issues will begin to be quashed, and the courts will begin to positively support a wide variety of Trump initiatives of questionable Constitutionality. The Federal court system will be well on its way to being "fascistified" (there's new one for you[!]), just as Trump has been calling for since he entered the race for the Presidency in 2015. And of course, suppression of the independent judiciary is a key feature of fascism.

Another key feature of fascism is the suppression of the free media. It is unlikely that the TrumpublicansĂ‚ © would, at the beginning at least, go after the media directly, by statute. But Trump just loves suing. And he has talked about suing the media for libel. Right now, it is very difficult for him to do so, most importantly because of a famous 1964 Supreme Court decision, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. It set a very high bar for success in such suits. A TrumpublicanĂ‚ © Congress could write a new statute, which would then be upheld by the TrumpCourtĂ‚ ©, making success in libel suits against the media much easier to achieve. Trump would have a field day, given to him by his Courts, and the independent media would disappear.

On the legislative side, after the reversal of Roe v. Wade by the TrumpCourtĂ‚ ©, abortion would be outlawed nationally and thoroughly criminalized. A national "right to work law" would effectively kill the remaining, very weak, trade union movement. What would be left of "Obamacare" would be repealed. The 40-year Republican battle to functionally repeal Medicaid would be won and Medicare would be significantly cut back. "The Wall" would of course be built.

As for indicting his enemies, which an unfettered Trump would be itching to do, of course the first up would be Comey, McCabe, and Mueller, while Manafort would be sprung at the first possible moment. As for Mike Cohen, if Trump could figure out a way to get around double jeopardy, Cohen would be first in his sights for further punishment.

All of this, of course (forgetting what would happen with foreign policy), is just for openers.

And finally, getting back to Trump's main legislative Republican facilitators, McConnell and Graham. Which, if either, would be von Schleicher, and which von Papen?


A slightly different version of this column was originally published on OpEdNews, June 4, 2019, and then re-published on BuzzFlash on July 30, 2020.

(Article changed on February 10, 2021 at 00:00)

Rate It | View Ratings

Steven Jonas Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

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 Ă ‚¬Ĺ"Trusted Author,Ă ‚¬ ť he is a Senior (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Pope Francis and Change in the Roman Catholic Church

Limbaugh, Santorum, Sex, and the Origins of the Roman Catholic Church

The "Irrepressible Conflict" and the Coming Second Civil War

Gay Marriage and the Constitution

The Republican Party and the Separation of Church and State: Change Does Happen

What the Gunners Want: What's in Rick Perry's Pocket, Unlimited

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend