For years, I’ve been listening to warnings of the threats of new Hitlers.
Back in the 1950s, Joe McCarthy supposedly was equivalent to Hitler. Then George Wallace. Richard Nixon. Dick Cheney. Now Donald Trump is the latest Hitler equivalent.
The problem is that Donald Trump can refute his enemies by simply not behaving like Hitler.
He can run an administration that is more corrupt than the Harding or Grant administrations. He can be the enemy of organized labor, civil rights, civil liberties and women’s rights. He can destroy the social safety net. He can make the government more plutocratic and militaristic than it already is.
But as long as he does not embark on genocide or world conquest, he meets the standard of not being equivalent to Hitler.
I don’t see night-and-day differences between Donald Trump and the mainstream of the Republican Party on most issues. On some few but important issues, such as relations with Russia or pro-corporate trade treaties, I think Trump is better than either the Democratic or Republican established leadership.
If you’re a liberal or progressive activist, there are better uses of your time that reading up on the Weimar Republic or making checklists of the characteristics of fascism.
Telling people that Trump is equivalent to Hitler makes it easy for Trump because (1) it’s unconvincing and (2) it shifts the focus to historical parallels and away from Trump himself.
LINKS (about Trump, not Hitler)
Donald Trump is unpopular, and so is the GOP agenda by Jamelle Bouie for Slate.
Donald Trump’s Plans Are Incredibly Unpopular by Susan J. Douglas for In These Times.
‘The Wealthy Would Never Steal’: a Credo for Trump’s Party by Jonathan Chait for New York magazine.
Trump’s Cabinet Is Coming After What’s Left of the Middle Class by Sam Pizzigati for AlterNet.
Trump launches war on unions by Ted Hesson for POLITICO
Quietly, Trump and Republicans Are Gunning to Destroy Medicaid by Deidre Fulton for Common Dreams.
In Trump, U.S. Puts a Climate Change Denier in Its Highest Office and All Climate Change Action in Limbo by Marianne LaVelle for Inside Climate News.
Dakota Access Pipeline Executive Says ‘Election Night Changed Everything’ and DAPL ‘Is Going Through’ by Steve Horn for DeSmogBlog.
Betsy DeVos and the Plan to Break Public Schools by Rebecca Mead for The New Yorker.
President Trump: Mexico’s Worst Nightmare by Laura Carlsen for Counterpunch.
Donald Trump’s Conflicts of Interest: a Crib Sheet by Jeremy Vendok for The Atlantic.
Illustration via Huffington Post.
Afterthought. Steve Bannon, Richard Spencer and other members of the “alternate right” and white nationalist movements are sinister figures who have become more influential as a result of Donald Trump’s victory. This is a matter of serious concern—but they do not as yet constitute a clear and present danger.
My acquaintances who e-mail me about forming a Resistance against Donald Trump do not actually intend to go underground as they would if a Hitler or Mussolini were coming to power. They are not inquiring about moving to a foreign country, transferring their savings to a numbered Swiss bank account, arranging to get forged identity papers or even encrypting their e-mail and computer files. They are just using hyperbole about normal political activity.
The problem with hyperbole is that people who don’t know you take you literally, and judge you accordingly.
Afterthought 2. Donald Trump is not a respecter of civil liberties, he says and is likely to do bad things, but the erosion of the Bill of Rights has been going on for a long time. Trying to put things back the way they were before Trump’s victory (and this applies to more than just civil liberties) is merely to recreate the conditions that brought Trump to power in the first place.
Afterthought 3 (1/4/2017). If there is a lesson to be learned from the history of Europe in the late 1920s and early 1930s, it is that fascist governments came to power because of disillusionment with democratic governments—conservative, liberal or nominally socialist—because the democracies failed to deal with unemployment and economic distresss or offer any constructive alternative to the status quo.