They've Become What They Despise
Long before mainstream liberals started calling him a "dictator" involved in a "coverup" -- which is what's going on now -- the hard left wing of the Democratic Party was making connections between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. Playing the Nazi card is one of those bright lines that should not be crossed, if for no other reason than it’s crude and historically illiterate. Unfortunately that’s made no difference to the Trump haters who just can’t help themselves.
Some on the hard left took to the streets with their predictable Trump = Hitler signs. Some took to social media to put a Hitler-like mustache on Trump’s lip. But it didn’t stop there. The progressive elite also got into the act, suggesting that while Donald Trump may not actually be the second coming of Hitler, there were a lot of scary similarities.
In February 2016, Harvard professor Danielle Allen wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post where she attempted to make the case that Hitler’s rise to power and that of Donald Trump were not so different.
“Like any number of us raised in the late 20th century, I have spent my life perplexed about exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany,” she wrote. “Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I now understand. Leave aside whether a direct comparison of Trump to Hitler is accurate. That is not my point. My point rather is about how a demagogic opportunist can exploit a divided country.”
At the time I wrote that when Professor Allen says, any "direct comparison" between Hitler and Trump "is not my point" she means, "That is precisely my point."
Then there’s the book by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, “Fascism: A Warning” in which she writes: “The elephant rampaging through these pages is, of course, Donald Trump.” He won the Presidency, she writes, “because he convinced enough voters in the right states that he was a teller of blunt truths, a masterful negotiator, and an effective champion of American interests. That he is none of those things should disturb our sleep, but there is a larger cause for unease. Trump is the first antidemocratic president in modern U.S. history.”
In case you had any doubts that she was calling Donald Trump a fascist, New Yorker magazine didn’t. An article about the book runs under the headline, “Madeleine Albright Warns of a New Fascism—and Trump”
When children and their parents were separated along the Mexican-U.S. border last year, former CIA Director Michael Hayden tweeted a photo of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi death camp, with this caption: "Other governments have separated mothers and children." Was he comparing Trump to Hitler? Of course not, he disingenuously claimed -- simply sounding an alarm.
Soledad O’Brien tweeted, “I guess we’ve put to rest the question: ‘Nazi Germany: Could it happen here in America?’”
Trump as Hitler even popped up on Saturday Night Live when Darrell Hammond played Donald Trump standing at the podium after his big win on Super Tuesday 2016.
“What a great, great, night,” Hammond-Trump said. “I really am running the best campaign, aren’t I? The media is saying they haven’t seen anything like this, not since Germany in the 1930s.”
There’s a lot more like this – Trump is Hitler, Trump isn’t Hitler but he is a Nazi, Trump is a fascist, Trump is anti-democratic, Trump is an authoritarian, Trump supporters are a lot like Hitler’s supporters and on and on and on.
As regular readers know, I’m no fan of Donald Trump for many reasons, all of them stemming from his less than charming personality. But these comparisons to the Nazis are vile, and just don’t resonate with anyone who is not suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.
The Trump is Hitler comparisons might be true if the president had sent federal agents to arrest his political enemies and threw them into concentration camps – or even run-of-the-mill prisons. Hitler, or any other Nazi, would never tolerate what Donald Trump has tolerated. Tweeting nasty things about his political opponents is light years away from what the Nazis did to their political opponents. You’d think smart people would know this. But such is the power this president has over them. They so detest him that they can’t think straight.
But what I find most interesting is that there really are authoritarians in our midst, anti-democratic thugs who are actually trying and too often succeeding in shutting down views they don’t like. Yet the same people who stay up at night worrying that Donald Trump is in the process of creating a Fourth Reich look the other way – or just as likely, endorse the tactics of these progressive hooligans.
Here are a few examples:
At the University of California at Berkeley it wasn’t Trump supporters who shut down a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, it was Trump-hating progressives. They were the ones who threw Molotov cocktails and smashed windows to make sure he wouldn’t be allowed to speak on campus.
At Middlebury College in Vermont, it wasn’t right-wing goons who shut down a speech by Charles Murray, a conservative intellectual. It was progressives.
At Evergreen State College in Washington it was left-wing students who were the vigilantes that traversed the campus with sticks and baseball bats, threatening anyone who disagreed with them.
Recently, a conservative speaker was assaulted on the Kansas City campus of the University of Missouri by a student who objected to the subject of his speech -- that "men are not women."
At numerous other colleges, professors who hold “unpopular” opinions, who utter the “wrong” word, have been harassed by anti-democratic snowflakes. And as I wrote last week, a dean at Harvard lost his job after students protested and defaced buildings simply because he joined the legal defense team of Harvey Weinstein who is accused of rape and other sexual offenses.
Donald Trump, for all his bluster, isn’t shutting down anyone’s right to speak. You can call him every name in the book and all he can do is call you names in return. And for all his thin-skinned childish responses to critics, it isn’t Donald Trump who is behaving like the thugs who disrupted speeches they didn’t like in Hitler’s Germany.
It’s the sanctimonious hooligans on campus who hate Donald Trump who are doing that. They're the ones who have become the very thing they claim to despise.