The Republican Party today is not based upon policies seeking the good of our Republic, but upon furious opposition — to anything a Democrat proposes.
This may be “effective politics,” in the short term. But the Trump Forever brigade shares far too many elements with anti-Semitism to let us let it go unnoticed.
Let us compare anti-Semitism with Trumpism.
Both are based upon fantasies: vicious, intense and unfounded, seeking revenge for imagined wrongs at their core, and appeals to a Savior who can end this imaginary oppression — from government, from international finance, from imagined invading hordes.
The long, ugly history of anti-Semitism was based, in part, upon majority populations’ stirred-up hatred against a minority. But the Trump Forever brigade stirs up hatred against half of a nation — actually, less than half of it.
Both Trumpism and anti-Semitism are totalizing world views, impervious to reason, relying upon their own “alternative facts.” Trumpism also resembles anti-Semitism in its insistence upon the exclusion of “the other:” be it Jews, Democrats or “traitorous” Republicans.
These dangers are not just immediate. Anti-Semitism has a centuries-long, vile history.
Not are the dangers of Trumpism to our Republic just immediate: but how long its ugliness may last, and what harms it will do in years to come.
Consider the parallels:
Trumpists, unable to formulate policies that work, blame “outsiders” for their failures, even if the “outsiders” are not just immigrants, but fellow citizens — Democrats — and now, members of their own party, who refuse to toe the lie. (Sic.)
I am not equating Trumpism with Nazism: I am pointing out similarities in their core tactics, and to some extent, beliefs, which show us how difficult it is to control this virus.
Both Trumpism and anti-Semitism are characterized by paranoia, verging upon hysteria.
If Trumpism is anything (and it is something, even if it based upon nothing) it is based upon white people’s grievances against “others,” even if the others are White Like Them.
Consider the Trumpists’ “great replacement” theory: that somehow the hated “others” have gained control of our country, and its finances, with the goal, of course, of conquering the world.
Sounds a lot like a certain German party in the 1930s.
One of the Nazi party’s founding lies was that Germany had lost the Great War because it had been “stabbed in the back” by the “cosmopolitan” (read: Jewish, or if you prefer, “elite”) members of the Weimar Republic, which faced insuperable difficulties after losing the war: its inability to pay reparations to the victors, and then the catastrophe of the Great Depression.
President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933, though Hitler had been sentenced to prison for treason after his failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. (He served nine months of a five-year sentence, during which he wrote Mein Kampf.) Hitler claimed the Weimar leaders were Marxists, and “November criminals.” (The Armistice was signed on Nov. 11.)
The Nazis then built a rabid following — and consensus — by fostering resentment.
Hindenburg, historians tell us, was assured by his Cabinet (in which the Nazis held two of 10 seats) that Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen would keep Hitler under control.
So how did that turn out?
One of the remarkable facts about the Nazi terror, as I learned from Professor Owen Ulph in his History of the Third Reich class at Reed College, was that after only 90 days in office, Hitler had arranged it that everything he did from then on was legal.
Using the Reichstag Fire of Feb. 27, 1933, (probably set by Nazis) Hitler declared that public order required that he be granted extraordinary emergency powers.
(Sound familiar, Black Lives Matter protesters?)
I am not equating Trump Foreverists with Nazis. I am saying that Trumpists’ tactics bear striking similarities to the tactics Hitler employed so “successfully” — if we can call it that — for a few years.
It’s rather bizarre that Hitler called his party National Socialists, though he blamed Germany’s woes on Marxists.
It’s bizarre also that the Forever Trumpers claim that the 2020 election was “stolen” by Democrats, while a good case can be made that Republicans stole the 2000 election for George W. Bush in Florida.
But you won’t hear Democrats — including Al Gore — harping upon that. They moved on.
The Forever Trumpers refuse to move on. They harp upon their tired, transparent lies that have been disproved, in courts across the nation, again and again.
Their Minister of Culture, Tucker Carlson, urged his minions on Monday to confront strangers who wear masks and tell them: “Your mask is making me uncomfortable.”
(“I want to see your nose”?)
This after telling his viewers to call police if they see children playing with masks on, and report their parents for “child abuse.”
This after the right-wing riot of Jan. 6, when Trumpers sought to kill Nancy Pelosi, spurred on by Trump’s fatwa. That’s fascism.
Trumpism today, like anti-Semitism at its apotheosis, is led by a Führer: immaculate, all-seeing, all-powerful, and deluded. Leading his party, we can only hope, to destruction. But please, we hope, not the nation.