I wrote this last September, during the 2016 campaign which produced a President that has strong support among the most vile racists and bigots and whose Administration seems bent upon turning us towards totalitarianism. The turmoil in Charlottesvillle, VA. could well be a pre-cursor of worse things to come. I believe the events of the last few days sadly vindicate the fears I expressed last September, only 11 tumultuous months ago:
In this year’s Presidential race I have had one over-riding fear motivating my preferences and actions. It is that fear that had me working for the Hilary Clinton Campaign on a phone bank for the last few days and it is that fear that will keep me working for her campaign until the election. That fear of course is that Donald Trump will be elected President, because I strongly believe that Trump is a Hitler in the making. On March 3rd I wrote Godwin’s Law, Donald Trump, Rising American Fascism and Its’ Eerie Similarity to the NAZI’s. That remains the most read post that I’ve written in the 14 months since I created ElephantTail. It was bookended by a host of other posts exploring the same theme which you can reach at this link Trump: Hitler.
In “Godwin’s Law,” I included excerpts from a 1922 New York Times article titled: “New Popular Idol Rises in Bavaria”. The article was about Adolph Hitler and his improbable popularity in the German State of Bavaria. It was an eerie precursor to Hitler’s becoming German Chancellor in 1933 and there were parallels we could draw from relating to Trump’s tactics and rise. In that piece I also went into the background of fascism in America and detailed the ways that a fascist sensibility laid the groundwork for the rise of Trump. I must admit that even as I write this piece I feel a frisson of fear in the knowledge that if Trump actually becomes President, this piece might serve as a danger to my own and my family’s future. Call this paranoia, but I call it common sense, based upon the evidence at hand.
Adding to my horror at the rise of Trump, is that as a resident in and around New York City until 2007, I’ve been aware of Trump far longer than most living elsewhere in the country. The idea that he might be President never occurred to me, because he was and is such a ridiculous figure.
In the beginning, Trump was merely a boorish real estate millionaire around town known for his “playboy” ways and clownish attempts to seem like he was to the manor born. Then he married the Czech Socialite and former model Ivana Trump and it was she who crafted the Trump persona and brand as she dubbed him: “The Donald”.
“Donald and Ivana Trump became leading figures in New York society during the 1980s. They set to work on several massive projects, including the renovation of the Grand Hyatt Hotel and construction of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey and the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.”
“Ivana took a major role in the Trump Organization. She became the Vice President of Interior Design for the company, spearheading the signature design of Trump Tower. Afterwards, her then-husband appointed her to head up the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino as president. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1988, with Donald at her side.”
However, former models age and to someone of narcissistic bent like Trump, they need to be replaced by younger, more youthful models. Ivana though had set the mold for the future of Donald Trump and her steady hand was replaced by a plethora of disposable advisors and PR people, following Ivana’s basic template. One also can’t discount the work of the high paid legal talent that greased the way for Trump’s clumsy manipulations and frauds. Within the past week there was a New York Times book review by their ace, Pulitzer Prize winning book reviewer, Michiko Kakutani.
Her artful review of a book about Adolph Hitler, in which she lays out Der Feuhrer’s rise in bullet points, which make all too clear the parallels with Donald Trump. I’m going to counterpoint her bullets:
The review begins:
“How did Adolf Hitler — described by one eminent magazine editor in 1930 as a “half-insane rascal,” a “pathetic dunderhead,” a “nowhere fool,” a “big mouth” — rise to power in the land of Goethe and Beethoven? What persuaded millions of ordinary Germans to embrace him and his doctrine of hatred? How did this “most unlikely pretender to high state office” achieve absolute power in a once democratic country and set it on a course of monstrous horror?”
By the same token how did Donald Trump, considered a boorish parvenu whose architecture and design style seemed more in tune with the Palace of Versalles than the modern era; whose antics were deemed a New York City embarrassment; whose use of superlatives in self description was laughable; who managed to go bankrupt as a casino owner competing with himself; who “authored” a ghost-written autobiography extolling his deal making prowess based upon falsehood; who anchored a racist movement trying to de-legitimize our first Black President and who began his Presidential campaign implying all Mexican immigrants were rapists and murderers, get the Republican Presidential nominations? Let’s look at the similarities in Hitler’s rise present in Kakutani’s review of Vlker Ullrich’s book.
• Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who “only loved himself” — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and what Mr. Ullrich calls a “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But Mr. Ullrich underscores Hitler’s shrewdness as a politician — with a “keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people” and an ability to “instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.”
One would have to be intellectually blind not to see the narcissism in Donald Trump. Like Hitler, Trump continually uses superlatives to describe himself and his “achievements,” acting always in an overly dramatic manner. People, even his supporters remark on Trump’s lack of self-control, especially as a risk taker. To see Trump’s political shrewdness we must remember his Republican Primary debate performances where he skilfully exploited the weaknesses of his opponents, isolating them one by one and bowdlerizing each ones particular foibles. “Little Marco”, “Lyin Ted” and “Low Energy Jeb”.
• Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.”
The plethora of stories that have come out about Trump’s failing to pay contractors and employees certainly plays up Trump’s own mendacity. He has left investors, many of whom former friends, hanging by declaring bankruptcy seven times causing them to lose their investments. He has defrauded many with phony projects like Trump University, where he promised the secret of riches to desperate people and provided little, or nothing.in return. Trump, or those who work for him, have shown a knowledge of the latest technology and in fact his aides can’t keep him from Twitter, which seems to involve him late into the night. We have seen copious evidence of Trump as a serial liar, with him denying having said things that have been captured on video, or on tape, such as his 2002 interview approving of the War in Iraq. Donald Trump, even has his own version of “Mein Kampf” know as the “Art of the Deal”. This book was completely ghost-written in a hagiographic style and its’ ghostwriter now says that it is the “greatest regret of his life that he wrote it”. He says that the picture he painted of Trump was false, but desperately fabricated, since Trump lacked the attention span to give coherent interviews.
• Hitler was an effective orator and actor, Mr. Ullrich reminds readers, adept at assuming various masks and feeding off the energy of his audiences. Although he concealed his anti-Semitism beneath a “mask of moderation” when trying to win the support of the socially liberal middle classes, he specialized in big, theatrical rallies staged with spectacular elements borrowed from the circus. Here, “Hitler adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners,” Mr. Ullrich writes. He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order.”
Trump is at his best in large rallies where his speeches are steeped in unbridled nationalism, laced with bigotry against various groups and are aimed at the least informed, White voters, particular males of lower middle class, or lower class backgrounds. He loves to attack hecklers at his speeches and like Hitler encourages attacks upon these dissidents. People of color, sometimes even Trump supporters have been refused entry to Trump rallies. Trump’s whole message is laced with resentment of the powers that be, hatred of foreigners and the meaningless mantra of “making America great again”.
• Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising “to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,” though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, Mr. Ullrich says, the better “to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.”
I wrote in Paul Ryan, Teddy Roosevelt, Adolph Hitler and Eugenics that Adolph Hitler believed in the pseudo-science of eugenics that deemed the Anglo-Saxon (Aryan) “Race” the apotheosis of humanity. This is an early introduction to Donald Trumps and the “gene” theory.
Here is an analysis of Donald Trump and the “eugenics” idea so popular with Adolph Hitler, in Trump’s own words presented at this link to the Huffpost Article This May Be the Most Terrible Thing Donald Trump Believes. Watch the minute long video of Trump discussing himself and genetics. Given Trump’s overwhelming popularity with the Alt-Right Fascist Movement, seeing all the evidence of his similarity to Hitler from above and tell me if I’m wrong in being very afraid and if my working for Hillary Clinton’s election is a fool’s errand.