In any discussion of Trump an inevitable comparison to Hitler comes up. It's an unavoidable idea to carefully weigh and consider. It's NOT a random insult.
Actual critical analysis of a person as an admirer or follower of Hitler or Nazi ideology is entirely appropriate if someone has words and deeds that are evidence that are appropriate for consideration.
The meme Godwin's Law is used as a kind of slogan or thought stopping cliche. It's invoked and ends all examination of evidence. Evidence that almost always shows a comparison to the real Nazis and Hitler was entirely unjustified and a poor choice.
ALMOST always. But, if you have a situation or person that actually warrants examination against Hitler and Nazis then Godwin's Law creates incredulity that ANY comparison could be valid.
The following quotes are from Rationalwiki on Godwin's Law:
Godwin’s Law (also argumentum ad Nazium, reductio ad Hitlerum, or a Hitler Card) was formulated by the attorney Mike Godwin (former general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation) in the 1990s and states:
Additionally, Godwin made an appearance in Glenn Greenwald's Salon comments section in 2010 to confirm, as Greenwald put it in a column titled The odiousness of the distorted Godwin’s Law:
“”Godwin himself appears in comments (authenticity confirmed via email) to explain that his “law” sought to discourage frivolous, but not substantive, Nazi analogies and comparisons.
Trump has done many, many actions and chosen many people that warrants examination in very fine detail to compare with Nazi ideology and Hitler himself.
The following was published in the Guardian:
An image of Donald Trump with his arm raised in a salute has been included on the cover of a collection of Adolf Hitler’s speeches.
Publisher Ishi Press International has illustrated the back cover of Hitler’s collected speeches My New Order: volume one and the front cover of volume two with photographs of the presidential candidate. It declares in the book’s blurb that: “There are clear similarities between the speeches of Trump and the speeches of Hitler”, citing everything from repetition to name calling and a lack of logical justification for views held.
“They never admit they have made a mistake nor do they ever take anything back,” Ishi Press writes on both volumes. “To any criticism, they respond by insults and name calling. They use a low form of language, with simple sentences even a person with the lowest level of education or no education at all can understand.”
The jackets of both volumes read: “My New Order has attracted the attention of the press with the rise of Donald Trump as candidate for president of the United States, because his first wife Ivana Trump revealed that Donald Trump reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed.” The publisher is referring to a 1990 Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner. Brenner interviewed Trump, who said it was a gift from “my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew” and denied having read the book: “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.’”
Davis later told Brenner: “I did give him a book about Hitler, but it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”
Brenner points out in her Vanity Fair piece that “Trump is no reader or history buff”, adding that “perhaps his possession of Hitler’s speeches merely indicates an interest in Hitler’s genius at propaganda”.
Sam Sloan, head of Ishi Press International’s US arm, told the Huffington Post that when My New Order was published in 1941, there was “nothing on the back cover … so I decided to use that empty space for an advertisement for the book”. The Huffington Post identifies the photograph used by Ishi as from the 10 December front page of the Philadelphia News, which used the headline “The New Furor” to refer to the presidential candidate’s “latest hair-raising idea … to keep out all Muslims” from the US.
The claim Trump studied Hitler's speeches from his ex wife Ivana is relevant.Trump has a very distinct style of communication. It's amazing in its consistency and it's so unconventional for a presidential candidate that it threw many people off. It threw off the entire republican party during the primaries and the democrats during the election and the press the whole way.
But is it truly Hitler's or based on Nazism or close to them ?
To understand Nazism you have to actually LOOK at it, not a caricature or emotional judgment of it. Those are easy to get. Critical analysis takes work and facing the horror of the Nazis including the Holocaust to be sure, but also the minute details of Hitler and his followers and history.
So let's look.
"The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”
― Adolf Hitler
“But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.”
― Adolf Hitler
Trump has used very, very simple slogans and sayings over and over and over. In an analysis of his lies by a Canadian newspaper four hundred and ninety were found over a short period of time. Almost all were short phrases or sayings. Some were a short sentence or phrase. The Toronto Star published a list of four hundred and ninety four lies from Trump. Many were repeated over and over at different rallies or appearances.
Most were personal insults. Or distortions about Hillary Clinton or Muslims or a handful of subjects.
The Toronto Star lists Trump's lies and an interesting pattern emerges. He tells the same lie with a little variation over and over and over.
Trump uses simple terms that even an illiterate person can understand like crooked Hillary or low energy Jeb or a big beautiful wall. His style has the similarities of extreme repetition, simple and short slogans. Okay, that is one piece of evidence, but a lot of people use repetition and even simple short slogans.
So, let's look some more.
"I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.”― Adolf Hitler
Trump uses speeches designed to appeal to and stir emotions. It's his signature move. His surrogates are people that also use this tactic almost exclusively. I have seen them use it in many, many interviews.
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
― Adolf Hitler
Trump lies almost constantly and tells huge lies over and over shamelessly. He makes it so you either see him as a pathological liar OR get caught up in hoping he can lead or provide something good and you excuse or deny or worse yet believe all his lies. And they are big, big lies. No slight exaggerations. Numerous stories on this have been written. You might be skeptical and think his political or ideological opponents are lying.
Okay. I saw Trump on numerous occasions, probably over twenty, during the republican presidential primaries state something, then get asked it and flatly DENY saying EXACTLY what he had said just a few days earlier. I saw him confidently act like he never said the things he demonstrably did. And several reporters later presented the video of him saying something then denying exactly that.
That's troubling enough, but the fact that virtually every Trump surrogate ALSO denies easily proven statements is a propaganda campaign. It's using gaslighting which the media never adequately handled. They should have at the very beginning of Trump using this tactic relentlessly showed excellent investigative journalism and showed the video to discredit Trump. Every news organization should have shown it, the republicans should have said Trump disqualified himself early in the process and cast him out.
If he had to run as an independent on his own money and with only a tiny bit of media coverage as a fraud and oddity he would have perhaps earned a small cult, but that would have been much better than our current situation.
So, Trump effectively followed this bit of advice from Hitler.
He also follows this:
“If you cannot recognize the signs of Hitlerian Power, if you do not know how to counter their efforts, if you remain confused and uncertain as your opponent makes his moves, step by step with decisiveness and intention, and your inaction allows him to come closer to power, then you have already lost and they have won, for they know the rules of the game and you do not.”
― Adolf Hitler,
He often ignores questions like when a reporter asked him how his Muslim registry plan os different from what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany and Trump ignored the question the first three or four times then responded " You tell me" He put the burden of proof on the reporter.
He knew the reporter wouldn't dare to say "the difference is you know Jews aren't as vulnerable as they were in Germany and a presidential candidate or even president targeting them would be repudiated or even impeached." The US government would not cooperate, but Muslims are ALREADY demonized and a large percentage of Americans fear or don't trust them. It might be below fifty percent, but it's enough to be supported by republican voters and not strongly enough condemned to be driven out of the political arena automatically.
See, Trump KNOWS it's obvious he is using tweaked Nazism but in modern America people can't comprehend a Nazi getting through the political process and becoming our president. They dare not face an unpleasant reality. With all their knowledge and experience the media has been conned. The political process has allowed a Nazi to make it all the way through to win the presidency.
It shows the press can be conned, the American voters can be conned and our democratic process can fail in a profound way. I am not suggesting abandoning democracy. I am saying it can be exploited by a liar and used to gain power. It's not a magic formula that only elects good or at least decent people.
Trump has put it right out there. I know the KKK has long had a rule. If you can't openly be a racist for your job or social status then you are allowed to lie and even denounce them. They know members can lose jobs or support if their membership is revealed.
Many do as Trump has done. First, act dumb if the KKK is brought up by outsiders or especially press. Then if pressed give a weak claim of not being a member or sympathetic but be as vague as possible and rapidly change the subject. It's completely routine.
White supremacists know the subtle signs someone is one of them or if someone who dare not say it openly then that someone has their values. Little things like saying or retweeting information from white supremacist groups. Using talking points about black people or crime. Admiring people that supported white supremacy like John Wayne. Enough points of similarity add up to a coded way to tell white supremacists you empathize with them.
When Trump heard his supporters beat a homeless man and said they are passionate it was a sign for the white supremacists. When he pretended to not know about David Duke and white supremacists it was a sign. When he was asked about his supporters viciously harassing a Jewish reporter with antisemitic slurs and pictures of her in a concentration camp and he said I have nothing to say that was a sign. There have been many, many others.
To the white supremacists it's loud and clear. He's one of them, but can't openly attack Jewish people and despite a mountain of evidence he is racist towards black folks and Muslims and Mexican immigrants he is acceptable towards republicans. It shows how prejudiced and fascist the republican party already was before Trump ascended into his position within the party.
There are other pieces of evidence to support the claims that Trump is an admirer of Hitler with similar methods and goals. Now he obviously hasn't engineered and carried out genocide like Hitler did, YET.
That's the kicker. People are on one of two sides usually, unless they desire the genocide occur of course.
People either have a terrible feeling about the Trump Hitler similarities and want him stopped at all costs or entirely disregard any comparison as absurd and unwarranted ad hominem attacks and simply say it's a bad reflection on the claimant.
But here's the thing - you should NOT need a consensus to know what you know. Or for actual genocide to occur to be aware that is the path you are on. Your own best judgment and carefully weighing the evidence can be enough to justify seeing person as a threat BEFORE letting them go all the way or most of the way to genocide.
That's a far more dangerous fallacy than Godwin's Law by far.