So, there have been few American politicians in our lives as openly nasty and hate filled as Donald Trump. But I think it's time to stop the facile comparisons to Hitler. These claims prove to me, more than anything else, how knowledge of what Hitler and the Nazis were, has largely disappeared in this country. Here's a bit of perspective.
First of all, the United States in 2016 is facing little compared to the massive trauma of Germany in the 1920's, when Hitler rose to prominence. Yeah, our last Republican President gave us one of the most humiliating military disasters in history, and Republican economic cant caused a major disruption in the economy. But, in truth, the Iraq aggression really affected Americans in only very minor ways, compared to World War I Germany, where a large part of a whole generation was killed off, and the people at home suffered immense deprivation, only to lose a war that they need never have entered, and end up being charged massive reparations as a result. And the 2008 economic collapse, as bad as it was, was a minor disruption compared to the complete devastation of the German economy that took place in the twenties, leaving a large part of the middle class destitute. It is these people, not the poor, who formed the real core of Hitler's support.
Second, it is true that there have been some ugly threats of violence at Trump rallies, but again, these amount to almost nothing compared to the violence deliberately concocted by the Nazis. It must be remembered that it was traditional for German and other European, parties to have uniformed paramilitary organizations, supposedly to protect their rallies and party workers from attacks; after World War I, these militias on the left and right grew more and more violent, breaking up opposition rallies, and even government meetings, and destroying the facilities of other parties. This had become an almost normal fact of political life by the time that the Nazis began to emerge, and Hitler founded the Sturmabteilung, as one of these groups. Eventually, it had hundreds of thousands of members, and became such a threat to Hitler himself that he had its leaders assassinated, and its power curtailed.
And remember, Hitler was a driven man with coherent, if evil, goals, and a real strategy to reach them. Compared to him, Trump is a dilettante who is more interested in entertaining himself than anything else, and who we know will turn to some other entertainment if this one gets boring.
I am not saying that we should not be alarmed at Trump, who is a truly loathsome individual, but we should remember that he is the logical product of the hatred, anger and contempt for rationality which the Republican party has built over the last several decades. It is the party itself that needs to be struck down, or else we are doomed to experience an endless series of Trumps, until one finally comes along that truly deserves the comparison to Hitler.