5 Ways Donald Trump Perfectly Mirrors Hitler's Rise To Power
Ideally, time will prove me crazy and incorrect, but approaching the Trump candidacy as a comedy sketch that will never come true could potentially be the most tragic mistake this country will ever make, and you don't need to look any further than the publicly documented words and actions of the man himself to see just how true that is. We talk about it on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by my Cracked co-worker Randol Maynard and comic/activist/word doctor Genevieve Mueller. Specifically, we talk about all of the terrifyingly real ways that, no matter how crazy it sounds, Donald Trump is the closest the United States has ever come to producing our very own version of Adolf Hitler. Here are a few reasons why.
He Blames A Specific Group Of Immigrants For All Our Problems (And Promises To Eliminate Them From Our Society)
Seriously, while you've been chuckling it up about Donald Trump's crazy hair and stupid facial expressions, have you taken a few minutes to read his nightmare scenario of an immigration policy? It's right there on his website for the world to see, and it is nothing short of terrifying. It kicks off with his three "core principals" of immigration reform:
If that first point doesn't make it clear enough that he's specifically referring to Mexican immigrants, his plan to pay for that wall certainly does. In short, he wants Mexico to pay for it. Why? Because they've been "taking advantage" of us by sending millions of illegal immigrants our way for decades now, to the absolute financial ruin of the average American. Covering all of the problems with that logic could be an article all its own, but what's particularly audacious and, in my opinion, just as revealing is his suggestion that Mexico has benefited from the "faulty trade deals" we've made with them. He's undoubtedly referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is ironic as all get-out, because one of the most devastating side effects of that program was that it flooded the Mexican market with U.S. government subsidized corn, forcing millions of farmers in that country out of business.
Inevitably, this led to huge numbers of people migrating north to look for work, often in the agriculture industry. This influx of workers willing to do tedious, sometimes back-breaking manual labor in return for absurdly low wages undoubtedly played a huge role in keeping American farms afloat.
I say his reference to NAFTA is revealing because, at the end of the day, Donald Trump is a businessman. He knows all about who reaped the financial rewards of NAFTA, and it for damn sure wasn't Mexico. So, if you're the type who's numbing the terror of the coming Trump presidency by assuring yourself that all he cares about is money, you're probably right. It's just that now he's landed on a way to once again capitalize ...
Trump International Border Wall-Casino-Hotel isn't just going to build itself.
... on one of the most lopsided trade agreements in history by recasting the victims of its most egregious ramifications into the villains who used it to "take America to the cleaners."
Even scarier is exactly how he plans to make "Mexico" pay for that wall. Among his chief complaints are "remittances" or, in layman's terms, money that illegal immigrants earn and send back to their families in their home country. According to his sources, that totaled $22 billion in 2013 alone. Think about that -- to pay for a wall to keep people from coming to this country looking for a better way to support their family, he's going to somehow take that money from millions of people who are here right now just because they wanted to make life a little better for their family. He doesn't say exactly how he'll accomplish that part, which makes the fact that this bit is so vague unspeakably uncomfortable.
What are you??!??!!?
What's that all about? Whatever it is, I can't help but think it will be bad times for people working illegally in this country who might have money in transit to people at home when it takes effect. It could be something as simple as forcing businesses to register all their employees to prove they aren't working here illegally and forfeiting some of those businesses' assets in the name of cutting off those remittance payments if it's found that they are. So, while you hear "make Mexico pay" and laugh it off, what he could just as easily mean is "freeze the bank accounts of businesses that are found to be employing illegal immigrants." If there's anything our government has had plenty of practice at over the past decade or so, it's taking the money of groups we determine to somehow be a threat to our safety. What he's actually proposing is only crazy if you want it to be.
He also stretches the premise to include crime, going into detail about an incident where two illegal immigrants attacked and killed a woman with a hammer. He touched on that idea early in his campaign also, when a woman in San Francisco was tragically shot and killed by a man who was also here illegally. He referred to San Francisco as a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants at the time and promised to stop that kind of thing if he gets elected. If that sounds like some kind of empty threat, his immigration policy makes it clear that it's not.
You shouldn't worry about money in a sanctuary. Just enjoy yourself.
Right, but "sanctuary city" is just some kind of made-up talking-point phrase, right? Not really. There's something taking hold in this country right now that's spread to 57 cities so far called the "welcoming movement." Basically, it involves cities taking in mass amounts of refugees from various war-torn or otherwise devastated regions around the world. At some point, his immigration policy stops limiting itself to Mexicans crossing the border and starts referencing the 2 million or so people we allow in the country as guest workers, refugees, and dependents.
The "dependents" part is particularly chilling when you read that part of his policy involves eliminating "birthright citizenship," which is the idea that if you were born in this country, you're a citizen of this country. That's how it works now, but it wouldn't be quite that easy in Trump's version of America. If you're the child of parents who are here illegally, you might as well have been born in Mexico. Cities that refuse to see it that way will be "defunded." In other words, providing aid and shelter to immigrants will have severe consequences for those who depend on government assistance to survive. So, poor people, of course.
The plan concludes by promising that all of this is meant to help Americans struggling in poverty fight their way to the middle class ... and that's when the implications get even more terrifying.
He'll Sell His Hate As Hope For The Poorest Citizens In This Country
Do I even need to tell you why anything in the previous entry reeks of Nazism? If so, take a quick read through Hitler's 25-point plan for the Nazi party, which mostly just says Jews need to be expelled from the country because they're a drain on resources that should be going toward making life better for natural German citizens. Life was rough in Germany at the time, and at some point it got so rough that people were willing to go along with blaming it all on Jews if the plan offered some sort of hope that things would get better.
Mention the parallels between Trump and Hitler to most people today, and they'll point out that things aren't nearly as bad in this country as they were in Germany at the time. What these people will all inevitably have in common is that they're white.
By the end of the first paragraph of his immigration plan, it's clear that Trump's not just hoping to appeal to white racists, if at all.
When you see it ...
At several points he goes to great lengths to suggest that black and Hispanic people in poor communities are among the biggest victims when it comes to losing jobs at the hands of illegal immigration (the link just points to a Breitbart article; also, foreshadowing alert), and that reform in that area should be largely aimed at helping them prosper and reach the middle class.
So, if you're among those who think the country is in too good of shape to elect Donald Trump, imagine you live in an inner-city neighborhood in a place like Baltimore or Chicago. You can't, because you don't, but you know it's pretty fucking terrible because you watch The Wire like a responsible adult should. Are you thinking about those communities when you say America is too well off for things to get out of hand? The ones you tweeted all the hashtags about, for example?
Even worse, it's not just minorities he mentions; it's teens. Someone wanting to draw some Nazi parallels might refer to them as youths. Wait, wait, wait ... "What the hell does Donald Trump have to offer young black voters?" you ask? I can't know for sure, but before I make a suggestion, have a look at this creepy shit.
He's really pitching those fringe white racists pretty hard, huh?
A refugee program for American kids? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Sure, we've had a natural disaster or two that sent people fleeing into the welcoming arms of a strange state, but since when do we need a running program that offers American kids a place to flee to? And what are they fleeing from?
Guns and poverty, dummy! See all those links in his pitch about kids needing a refugee program? It's my job to click them for you right now! They are:
- A statement from Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte called "Asylum Abuse: Is It Overwhelming Our Borders?"
- A Breitbart column with the headline, "3 In 4 Refugees On Food Stamps, Many Using Other Forms Of Public Assistance"
- A (say it with me) Breitbart column with the heading, "Black American From Gang-Besieged Baltimore: 'Where Can I Get Asylum?'"
Typical Trump rhetoric, yeah? But remember who he's saying it to. He's not even looking in the direction of the "vocal minority" we think he's catering to; this is tied to his reasoning for taking "American" kids without parents out of their current situation and placing them somewhere more stable. You know, maybe with a little more opportunity, even. I feel kind of weird putting "American" in quotes back there, but please know that I did it only to remind you that, if you click that link, you'll see he's speaking to one very specific community.
I don't think I need to remind you, since you did change your profile picture that one time so you already know, but it's a community that, for a long time, has felt like the people in power have not only ignored their problems but actively participated in making them worse.
So, what if, instead of selling deporting Mexican immigrants to fringe conspiracy theorists on the far right, he goes directly to the poorest inner-city neighborhoods and sells it as Mexicans taking opportunities that could just as easily be theirs? Remember, he's not just wanting to deport people here illegally currently; he wants no more birthright citizenship at all. Would that be retroactive to kids who already have it? I don't know, but he's devout in his claims that deporting illegal immigrants won't break up families, so you do the math.
And, make no mistake, filling the jobs left behind by immigrants being forced out of this country is absolutely a need he'll have to address. We learned that the hard way when Georgia imposed strict enforcement of bans on employing undocumented workers. Farmers quickly lost an astounding 40 percent of their workforce and, in turn, about $140 million in crops that were left untended due to labor shortages. When they tried to stop the bleeding by "allowing" prison inmates to do the work instead, the plan failed when most of them balked at being asked to perform such grueling tasks.
So ... he's going to sell teens on deporting immigrants by promising that they'll get sweet farming jobs that even criminals don't want?
Maybe a shot at washing a dish or two? Nope. Stripping away birthright citizenship wouldn't just drain the workforce; schools would feel it in a huge way as well, from grade school all the way through college. Maybe escaping the streets of Chicago to work on a farm isn't appealing enough to make any young voters vote yes on what definitely won't turn into a genocide situation of some sort, but going to college on the taxpayers dime somewhere in California might.
How's that for an uncomfortable situation for a liberal to be in? It's not like kids of illegal immigrants going to taxpayer-funded schools isn't a thing that comes up in the immigration debate. There's a Breitbart article about it and everything. What happens when Trump turns that around and asks his rivals to explain why children of illegal immigrants deserve that kind of thing more than children of parents who were born here? Parents who may not even be around anymore, because they live in a constant cycle of poverty and violence that consumes families on a daily basis. A cycle those kids are still forced to live in every day. What does the other side say to that? You can't exactly blame it on not wanting to send innocent kids back to a country that's overrun by guns and violence when you're addressing a demographic living under those exact conditions, you know? Who's speaking for them? Who can offer them some sort of hope or opportunity? I hate to say it, but at some point, the clearest answer to that question is going to be Donald Trump.
Oh, look, there's an eagle over his shoulder!
Remember, he wants to shut down immigration of all sorts, including those "welcoming" areas that let refugees from other countries seek refuge in their city and enjoy their taxpayer-funded social services. As I write this he's going on record to say he'd allow zero Syrian refugees in this country. So what becomes of those "sanctuary cities" that have programs in place that help immigrants and refugees assimilate to life in a new place with more opportunity? If I'm connecting the dots correctly, it sounds like they'll be expected to replace those refugees from foreign countries with refugees from poverty- and crime-ridden American cities, or risk having their government funding cut altogether.
Still, that is going to leave all those shitty farm jobs out there left to do. Who gets stuck with that work? Easy answer!
Don't Think Concentration Camps, Just Think Prisons
The problem with Hitler was that he had an answer for just about everything. Name a problem, he could fix it. Unfortunately, Trump is going to become that person in this race. It will be terrifying and everyone will hate it, but he will have answers, and they will be harder for Democrats to counter than I think anyone realizes.
Take his stance on Second Amendment rights, for example. If there's one thing people on the left can agree on, it's that gun control is a huge issue in this country. Unfortunately, we've done a great job of making the face of gun violence crazy white men, be they police or spree shooters. But ... you can't really think going after the parents who leave their assault rifles out for their unstable teens to take to school is going to make a significant dent in gun violence statistics, right? If so, you should know that, in 2015 so far, there have been 1,447 people injured or killed in mass shootings. Meanwhile, 1,625 people have been shot this year in Chicago alone, and the vast majority of those shootings happened in gang-controlled areas and where the residents are mostly minorities.
The NRA cares about no one in this picture.
Mandatory locks on gun cabinets do nothing to solve that problem. Sooner or later, if you really care about how many people are dying because of gun violence, you have to take into consideration how to get illegal guns off the street. What's your favorite candidate's plan to do that? Trump has one, and it can be summarized with two of the most reviled words in the history of criminal justice -- mandatory minimums.
Specifically, he points to a program enacted in Richmond, Virginia, called Project Exile, which basically made any crime committed in conjunction with a firearm punishable by a minimum sentence of five years in prison. Here's the problem -- it kind of worked. Remember, we won't be voting on just one thing. Criminals getting five-year prison sentences in exchange for contributing to the gun violence that you had no hope of escaping until Donald Trump came along probably won't seem like that huge of a deal if it means you get to assume ownership of the hopes and dreams you never realized you'd been robbed of because of illegal immigration.
Even better, what if, instead of actually arresting people and sending them through the notoriously faulty justice system, he promises to fix that too by "rehabilitating" some of them instead? Not the violent ones, of course. The spree shooters who've been victimizing high-crime neighborhoods and such? No, they'll go pick those goddamn crops, whether they want to or not. That is totally a thing that happens in other states right now.
Whoa, all the cool things happen in Colorado!
But why sully the otherwise clean criminal record of some young kid who was just trying to make ends meet by selling the drugs that Trump will never ever make legal and just happened to have a gun on him at the time? What if, instead of sending cases like that through the justice system, he offers to set up a rehabilitation program that helps them assimilate back into society? Maybe into the business world in some way? Put those lessons learned being an entrepreneur on the streets to good use with the help and guidance of a successful businessman? Donald Trump, getting guns off the streets and molding an army of young people in his image to make their life better in the process.
Not to keep beating a dead horse, but, once again, even just the suggestion of something like this could be difficult for a candidate running against Trump to oppose, because it will ultimately boil down to explaining how this is, in the most technical and unfortunate sense, anything short of exactly what liberals have always wanted. Decreased gun violence. Rehabilitation, albeit in a program constructed by the mind of Donald Trump, instead of punishment. Those are the dreams, right? I'm obviously not saying any of this is right, and I certainly hope I'm wrong about every word and none of it comes true -- but what exactly could anyone do or say if he proposed to fix gun violence by rehabilitating first-time offenders in government-run facilities instead of locking them up? Will you be more comfortable calling him a Nazi then?
Oh, and if you're wondering, yes, the rest of his Second Amendment policy is aggressively geared toward making sure "lawful" gun owners not only get to keep their weapons but are more free than ever to buy new ones and carry them in public in all 50 states. It's just the illegal gun owners. Illegal. Illegal. Like the ones in Chicago and Baltimore. Yes, he mentions those two cities specifically.
The same cities where he wants to take the good kids and send them off to live somewhere better. Between that and sending anyone who even thinks about a gun while committing a crime to prison for a minimum of five years sure will leave a lot of empty buildings and open space; I wonder what's he'll do with all that property?
Honestly, I hope the answer is "build condos for rich people," because "make the immigrants Mexico refuses to take back live there instead" has far more horrifying implications, but in a world where a man who steadfastly refuses to open the borders of his country to outsiders is in charge, it's not unreasonable to think other countries will do the same, even if it might require the government to turn on its own people, for the sake of its own people. What the fuck do we do then?
Not Taking Him Seriously Makes Him More Dangerous
One of the first "Trump kinda seems like Hitler" comparisons came from comic and reigning Colonel Sanders, Norm Macdonald. He noted that, in the run up to Hitler's rise to power, the media coverage surrounding him and his wacky ideas wasn't a lot unlike what we're seeing with Trump now. It was all political cartoons and people laughing off the notion that he could ever really take power.
What's terrifying is that Trump is already so close. He's the Republican front-runner, and he hasn't met a real challenge to that status as of yet. When's it going to happen? You may not know this, but the nomination process on the Republican side is different this year. There are fewer debates. The last one is in March, in fact. They'll pick their candidate in June, which is also earlier than usual. What that amounts to is less time for Trump to be put in a position where he has to explain how any of his ideas would work, much less look stupid for trying to do so.
If the few remaining debates go as they have so far, he's not likely to lose much of his lead through those means. As confident as people are that he'll never get the nomination, no one really has an answer about who they should go with instead.
We seem to be staking a lot of hope in the Conservative party to do the right thing and go with a more moderate candidate, even if Trump is in the lead and presents their best opportunity to win. Think about that, we're counting on Conservatives to choose someone other than Trump because ... he's too radical on immigration? Seems like a stretch. Also, since this is about Nazi comparisons and all, the conservative faction of the German government begrudgingly entering into a partnership with Hitler was pretty much the death knell of any hope that they'd see anything resembling a conservative government for a long time.
Thanks again, Obama!
Also, what if it's all a ploy? Liberals have accused Republicans of rigging elections. As much as people laugh about people who think Obama is building FEMA camps to round up dissidents, there were plenty of people who thought George W. Bush was up to the same damn thing. But now, all of a sudden, we're just banking on the fact that when it comes down to it, the Republicans will risk splitting the ticket and letting Trump go Independent, even if he's their best chance to win, just because his stance on immigration is a bit too harsh.
Since I've been playing conspiracy theorist this whole time anyway, have you considered that maybe they don't want anyone to take him seriously because they don't want anyone to look into how he's planning to win if they do?
Of course, the one hitch here is that this is all crazy talk. At the end of the day, Trump is just a dumb businessman. It's not like he's been studying Hitler's speeches preparing for this moment or anything. Right, about that ...
He Used To Keep A Copy Of Hitler's Sequel To Mein Kampf By His Bed
In a 1990 interview with Vanity Fair, Ivana Trump mentioned that, at least at one point, her husband used to keep a book filled with Hitler's speeches by his bedside. Just the crazy ramblings of a scorned ex-wife, yeah? Nope. Trump actually confirmed it. Don't worry, though, because Trump thought the guy who gave him the book was a Jew (the guy later confirmed that he's not), so it's not weird that either of them own a fucking copy of Hitler's sequel to Mein Kampf, I guess.
Excuse me? Why the fuck is this not the biggest news? Can you imagine the shit storm that would erupt if the world learned that Obama slept with a copy of the Quran by his bed at some point? It's not like that would even be a bad thing, but someone like Trump would run with it for months. Meanwhile, that the guy who is currently dead set on rounding up every Mexican immigrant in this country and ... doing something with them ... once studied the words and teachings of a man who became history's most notorious monster by doing almost the exact same thing is not currently burning up your news feed. No one is tweeting about it. No one cares. No one is taking him seriously. What's the point of prying into what things from his past might be influencing his policies? It's not like he'll get the nomination anyway.
Maybe. But also ... maybe the Republican National Convention rolls around, conveniently a few months earlier than on the Democrat side, and Trump strolls in, still as the front-runner. He's confident he'll get the nomination, no matter what the press says. So confident, in fact, he's already picked a running mate. Maybe it's Ben Carson. You know, one of the most respected neurosurgeons in the world who also for some reason refused to seize a clear opportunity to throw Trump under the bus on national television for being an anti-vaxxer?
What if those two show up as government outsiders, a businessman and a doctor, ready to make real change for people who need it the most?
What if all of that comes to pass and, when the spotlight is on him, Trump delivers one of those speeches he's been dreaming about delivering ever since he was sleeping with Nazi books?
What if it's already too late to stop him?
Adam just cannot wait to talk to you about this more; you can reach him on Twitter @adamtodbrown
If you need more reasons why we're not into Donald Trump, take a look at 10 Stories About Donald Trump You Won't Believe Are True and 6 Ways Critics Of Political Correctness Have It Backwards.
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