I’ve seen enough of Trump by now to recognize a demagogue when I see and hear one, and I would like to believe I was open to being proven wrong about my earlier negative opinion of him----but no such luck.
In any event here are 10 similarities between The Donald and Mister Wonderful in Berlin (Hitler) in 1932.
1. The use of finger pointing and wild physical gesturing. Hitler is a speech pointed his finger and raged, “I will not lie and deceive,” telling Germans Germany could not be remade in just a few days, that it will take effort to make Germany great (his version of it) once again. Trump of course is well known for his political election pledge to make America great once again, a ploy that has been overused by every political zealot over the past 50 years so often that its recurrent predictability should be canonized.
2. Ruthlessness and the use of threats. Hitler shouted, “Some of you may not be able to forgive me for eliminating the Communist Party, but my friends, I eliminated all the other parties too.” Trump of course uses the threat of withdrawing from the ranks of the Republican Party and running as an independent to show his disdain and to leverage submission in the same way Hitler refused a vice-chancellorship (only the full job with dictatorial powers was good enough for him).
3. Scapegoating entire groups of people. Hitler and the Jews and Trump and Muslims is so obvious it needs no comment, although Trump also has barely concealed contempt for Jews, blacks, women and those he considers inferior; in the case of women Trump said, “I cherish them,” only, he has a funny (not funny I mean strange) way of showing it.
4. Use of tragedy to advance political power and gamesmanship. Hitler used the Reichstag fire of 1933 to further his calls for a dictatorship. Trump has sought to exploit recent mass shootings for political advantage, although in fairness other candidates have chimed in too, though Trump’s solution, banning all Muslims from entering the country, is similar in severity to Hitler and the Nazis original plan for the Jews before the decision to murder them-----banning them to the African Island of Madagascar.
5. Strange hair. Hitler slicked his hair in a swipe to one side, and during speeches constantly wiped his brow with a hand, pasting the hair-swipe to one side. Trump has orange hair.
6. Use of anger as a show of decisive leadership. For some peculiar reason both Hitler and Trump share the strange notion that yelling and gesturing in a manner that would seem to indicate recovery from a hangover or waking up on the wrong side of the bed is manly and a show of bravado. Acting angry could be called for on occasion, but both Hitler and Trump use it as an ace card every time they appear in public. I don’t trust the judgement of anyone who has lost their temper.
7. The absolute belief in both their own infallibility and destiny. Trump’s belief in himself as a winner because of his achievements in using mostly other people’s money to amass money is somewhat similar in nature to Hitler’s view of his own humble beginnings in that both men consider themselves to be heroes chosen by fate to lead and win. While Hitler called himself a gift from provenance sent by God to the German people, Trump has described himself as, “I am very proud of my performance tonight, I am not a debater, I am a winner. I will make this country a total winner.” Both Hitler and Trump have insufferable egos on a monumental scale that rules out just mere self-love. Self-worship might be a more apt description. Humility or the pondering of reflection (moral or otherwise) are alien concepts to both men.
8. Use of the media to impress ignorant hay-kickers. Both Trump and Hitler made use of media skills to gain admiration from their similar base, ignorant angry white people. Hitler was a media pioneer, the first politician to craft an image using radio and flying all over Germany in an airplane to appear at election rallies. Trump’s appeal likewise comes from his undeniable charisma as a game show host on TV and on-camera antics that make him seem desirable to the kind of people one would see in a mob of pitchfork and torch-carrying villagers in a Frankenstein movie. The other candidates have a lot to learn about effective performances in the vein of Trump or Hitler.
9. Denigration of military men. Hitler served as a corporal in World War I and Trump never served anyone except himself, but both men have an inherent mistrust of those with more military experience, an oddity since one became and the other seeks to become the head of an entire army. Hitler told General von Brauchitsch, “Where were you when I was on the front lines of the war (World War One)?” Hitler was angry because von Brauchitsch was questioning his ideas. Trump said John McCain was a bogus hero because the only thing he ever did was to get captured by the North Vietnamese. Both men have a gnawing psychological need to feel superior over others.
10. Both Trump and Hitler were into food fetishes they felt enhanced them as special. Trump has a reported love for organic food and Hitler liked a cup of tea with a vegetarian (non-meat) diet.