Trump Crosses the Lines
by Alan Kanner
On Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2023, Donald Trump crossed the line. In his Claremont, New Hampshire speech, he said: “We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections.”
With this shocking statement, Donald Trump exposed to the American public a clear view into his fundamental Nazi beliefs. While it required a few years into Trump’s presidency before the national media coalesced around the term “unprecedented” to describe his actions, eventually this description took hold.
But there is precedent. Adolph Hitler.
Of late, Trump is ratcheting up his Hitlerian rants, now calling some immigrants and refugees the subhumans who are “poisoning the blood of the country.”
The fact that Trump lies has become an accepted norm in the political landscape and discussion. Now the media is faced with a new challenge: when to call him out as a Nazi threat. We can hope the objective mainstream media will have learned to speed this process.
Ten years from now, when historians look backward, they will see Trump’s rise to power along a Nazi trajectory. After all, he orchestrated his own Kristallnacht (The Nazi Germany “Night of Broken Glass” on Nov. 9-10, 1938) when Trump led his supporters (his “brownshirts”, the German precursors to the Nazi SS) to attack the Capitol.
It is easy to imagine that if these “brownshirts” (the extreme MAGA Republicans) truly believed the election was stolen, they would be willing to engage in extreme actions to prevent its certification. Trump’s rhetoric incited this attack.
It seems likely that many of his supporters may be convinced – even before any ballot is cast in 2024 – that the election is stolen if Trump does not win, in part, because of his relentless lies about the “stolen” 2020 election. His newest campaign calling his opponents vermin is not merely unprecedented language; it is about dehumanizing his opponents to the degree that violence against them would be personally justifiable.
If Trump’s opponents are vermin, why not exterminate them? Germans were capable of that behavior. Are Americans really that different?
A few years from now, historians will wonder: why didn’t Americans stop this man? Trump – this newly minted revenge president – is not the same man as he was in 2016.
While his endless lying, criminal behavior, total disregard for law, and other familiar features remain unchanged, he is now an enraged man. He is enraged because he lost the 2020 election.
In Trump’s world, losing cannot be tolerated. He said that he intends to eliminate all those who oppose him, those who obstruct him and those who claimed he lost the 2020 election. If Trump were to be elected in 2024, American democracy as we have known it to be in America would no longer exist.
Now is the time for Americans and the media to join together to stop this man. History will not look kindly on Americans if we do not.
Alan Kanner, Ph.D., is a psychologist in Amherst, MA.