Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said what so many of us have been thinking: Donald Trump is pretty much a Nazi. Biden said that Trump is “sort of like Goebbels,” in reference to Adolf Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda for the Nazi regime, Joseph Goebbels. Biden’s comparison specifically referred to Trump’s penchant for repeating lies to the public so much that the public starts to understand them as true. Trump hasn’t yet responded to Biden’s jab, although it wouldn’t surprise me if Trump took it as a compliment.
Some of you might think this is hyperbolic. Some of you might think this is just an example of Godwin’s law—a sort of rule of the internet that as an online discourse continues, the likelihood of some comparison to Hitler or Nazism becomes almost guaranteed—but you’d be wrong. How am I so sure of that, you ask?
Because Germany’s own neo-Nazis have co-opted the greater Trump persona and treat Trump as one of their de facto spiritual leaders, that’s how I’m so sure. Sometimes comparing evil people to the Nazis is legitimate, and sometimes it’s necessary. Here, it’s both. An article in The Washington Post put it bluntly: “the Reichstag is burning.” He writes: “It’s abundantly clear that Trump plans to fabricate an election ‘emergency.’” The burning of the Reichstag, for those of you who don’t know, was just that. It was a ploy by the Nazis to conjure nationalist support for the Nazi party. And guess what? It bloody worked.
In the late 1920s, the Nazi party only won 2.6% of the vote. In the late 2000s, the Tea Party was similarly fringe. Nazism blossomed and so too did the Tea Party’s radical ideals. Arguably, they made Trump’s brand of conservative lunacy mainstream and gave him a clear path to the hearts and minds of conservative America. Like Hitler, Trump was democratically elected. What happened after Hitler was calamity. What happens now if Trump is given the rubber stamp of a second term?
So here we are. There’s a strong argument that we currently sit at the precipice of autocracy. Whether we dive into it is up to you, the voter. What side of history do you want to be on?