Donald Trump is not Adolph Hitler. Trump is not Mussolini1. Or Genghis Khan or Caesar2.
I find it useless to make such comparisons.
Even Trumps’ supporters – not counting the utterly brain-dead armed separatist militia members – know he has no intention of building a wall or deporting or barring entry to the country by certain groups of people. Anyone spending his or her time arguing against those comments as policy ideas is wasting breath. You can certainly criticize it as wrongheaded, distasteful and offensive rhetoric unbecoming of a presidential candidate, much less a president, however.
Donald Trump is nothing if not simply a loudspeaker for the thoughts coursing through the heads of hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans – of any color.
When he says he’s your voice. it’s because he doesn’t have his own. He is as empty as his rhetoric.
Without denying the gravity and caution that should be given to the words spoken by presidential candidates, what would Donald Trump do if he were elected?
It doesn’t do to say, “Well, I just hope he’ll surround himself with people who know how things work and keep him in line.” If that’s your thought, who are you in fact voting for and electing? Trump? Pence? Manafort? Junior? Unknown staffers?
I won’t speculate. Though I do wonder, given how rhetorically and politically (including policy) empty he’s been, if he would fall back on his “New York values” in office3.
Is it possible all his policy flip-flops are for the elections and, were he to win, we’d see him flop back to his old beliefs – pro-abortion rights and other liberal-ish positions? You say it can’t happen, but we’ve all assumed he’d have self-imploded by now, and he hasn’t.
It’s a nice thought experiment anyway.
In reality, Trump’s comments about the Khans and their son, our fallen soldier, will, hopefully, result in his first and final visit to the political woodshed.
In general, I hesitate to write about politics – especially national horse-race politics. Aside from rather flippant Facebook posts, I don’t know that my comments matter all that much (at least the Facebook posts make some people chuckle). Further, they aren’t going to change any minds. So what’s the point, right?
1Though I do find Roberto Vivarelli’s description of Mussolini to describe Trump’s rhetoric and his supporters’ view of it:
From the very beginning, for example, the relation between words and deeds among Mussolini and his followers was very peculiar, and words were used not to state any firm conviction, nor to outline a definite political program but, rather, to arouse emotions that would generate support for a changeable line of action.
2 No matter how much he may like the sound of Caesar. Caesar is rarely mentioned when we discuss his fellow mass-murdering statesmen. Do those of us who aren’t much educated on Caesar romanticize him?
3 Can you imagine the gnashing of teeth, Munch-ian tearing of facial features and other acts of self-immolation among Republicans?