There have been, since early fall, a number of comparisons made between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler– and in response, a number of defenses against this assertion.
Opinions aside, you can’t refute the facts (unless, of course, you’re Kellyanne Conway), so let’s explore Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in the 1930’s:
Germany in the 1930’s was a dismal picture. The country had just bitterly lost WWI and was forced to pay enormous reparations for its role in the conflict. These reparations swiftly devalued the Deutsche mark and caused a period of devastating economic decline. Germans had lost faith in the government and were seeking elsewhere for salvation; enter Adolf Hitler.
Hitler ran for president in the 1932 election and was resisted vehemently by the German establishment– only fueling anti-establishment Germans’ support for him. Though he lost the election (by 16.2%) he was appointed chancellor in 1933– and with the president’s death in August of 1934, Hitler assumed his new position of Fuhrer.
Hitler garnered support for the Nazi party on the premise that he would “make Germany great again,” a promise which resonated with a struggling people. Hitler’s platform included a few major points which may sound familiar:
- A “war” against establishment politics
- An immigration freeze (i.e., no aliens, no refugees)
- Press censorship if the printed word defames the Reich or population
- Freedom of religion as long as it doesn’t offend the German moral
At this point it’s absurd to disregard the parallels between Hitler’s assumption of power and Trump’s. Both men took advantage of a rightfully defeated people to realize their own agenda.
Make no mistake, Donald Trump’s near immediate censorship of national agencies and media outlets alike, his blatant disregard for facts (bonus: his claim to the authority to rewrite fact) and his intent to keep all of his campaign promises is the beginning of a Fascist America.
It is inadmissible for Americans to sit by in silence as we watch a play we’ve seen before. Nazi Germany didn’t plan on being Nazi Germany– their failure was recognition. If we can recognize the Trump administration for being what it is, maybe we can save ourselves.
Just hours in the oval office and Trump signs in his first executive order, aiming to “minimize the economic burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal.” What exactly does this mean?
Well, nobody knows.
Donald Trump is playing his usual “wait and see” game, as though building the suspense of the nation is going to somehow garner support for his charge on Obamacare.
The bottom line is this:
Without the ACA, millions of Americans would be without both preventative and reactive medical treatment. Families across the country would be in agonizing debt while receiving the care they so desperately need, and to defund Obamacare without having a legislative replacement is downright irresponsible.
The only thing that could be meant by “easing the economic burden” would be a re-allocation of tax dollars to other programs, leaving ACA beneficiaries aground indefinitely.
Let’s be clear– this isn’t a win for anyone.
The 2016 election was divisive and tumultuous. Sixty-three days ago, the American people (roughly half of them, anyway) voted an inflammatory, uninformed, careless, politically inexperienced egotist into the most important office in global politics. One week from now, that man takes an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That day could potentially be the beginning of a precarious situation for the American people, given that numerous demographics feel not only unrepresented but altogether beleaguered by our President Elect.
A modern American civil war would be decidedly unfortunate for all parties involved (and most parties not involved) and this piece is not meant to abet or condone a civil war, but more to explore what a modern American Civil War would look like and how it would affect international politics.
The Preceding Weeks
There are currently roughly fifty documented, planned protests and demonstrations for January 20th and 21st, not only in Washington D.C., but in major cities all over the nation. It’s fair to expect more spontaneous demonstrations to crop up that weekend, as well as responsive demonstrations by the other side of the spectrum. Tensions have been high essentially since the election day demonstrations that erupted, and it would be cogent to assume a similar display on and around Inauguration Day.
Senate Republicans are already taking steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act— a move that has been staunchly resisted by Democrats across the board. The regrettable truth is that the Republican majority allows for such a repeal to pass within the very near future.
An ACA repeal would strip this spring’s millions of expected college graduates between the ages of 22 and 26 of the health insurance that the ACA guarantees them under their parents’ plans. Unfortunately for these budding adults, an ACA repeal would also almost ensure that employers would drop healthcare plans that they’d no longer be penalized for curbing. This leaves nearly twenty-six million young Americans high and dry; young Americans who are vocal, motivated and eager to see change.
Forcing a legislation shift as drastic as this with no Democratic competition would be devastating and antagonizing to an already embittered demographic. With more millennials now involved in politics than ever, there would be protests both organized and not.
If the new administration holds true to all of its threats (and promises), it won’t take long for peaceful demonstration to cultivate into all out civil disorder. The difference between the strife of the 19th century and the strife of today is that there is no line– real or imagined– separating “us” and “them.”
We live in an integrated world. Civil war no longer means a territorial dispute, and nobody could attempt to secede without serious protest from half of the population of any given state. The civil war in Syria is a prime example of what a modern civil war looks like, given a revolt and a governmental power struggle.
Given the current domestic political climate, growing discord among marginalized demographics, and the recent militarization of our police force– a full blown civil war would emerge with great momentum and force.
The first, most charged manifestations would likely be from factions like Black Lives Matter and the newly emboldened white nationalists. Rioting would take place in large cities across the country, but likely would be concentrated along the East Coast. Tensions would build due to the rioting, causing smaller skirmishes and violent crimes in the heartland and across the South.
From there, the conflict would augment as the authorities attempt to maintain control of the growing situation. A militarized police force would react harshly to such widespread violence, in turn shifting the focus partially to the police– a situation already unfolding in recent months.
In a clash between American nationalists, liberals and the government the resounding effects would be near impossible to predict or measure. The only definitive outcome is a weakened America, which is unmistakably bad news for greater world affairs.
Civil war in the United States would hardly go unnoticed, as unrest is already forecast by much of the international community.
At first, the U.S. would halfheartedly maintain its European installations, though the force would be sparse. The host nations would surely have their suspicions, creating a visible threat to their stability and stoking nationalist tensions. There would be an almost immediate uptick in racially and religiously motivated violence, as well as economic decline.
At this point, Russia would enter Europe in a bid to expand its sphere of influence. There would be a swift destabilization of Europe as Russia attempts to install friendly governments throughout the Balkans– a move which will help to weaken the EU and reestablish Russia as a leading world power.
China would almost immediately know about any American conflict, and would take the opportunity to pressure Taiwan into reunification. The Chinese government would be slower to act than Russia, but would monitor the situation and seek control of resource rich islands throughout Southeast Asia– a campaign which only Japan could defend against. We could also see Chinese interference in the American conflict in an attempt to profit off of arms deals.
India and Pakistan would turn into a proxy Russia V China conflict, resulting in a series of border skirmishes that would slowly escalate. The United States would obviously largely pull out of the Middle East, causing the situation there to continue amplifying. Uncontrolled conflict in the Middle East would precipitate an even greater refugee population, and in turn stir the nationalism weakening Europe to Russian influence.
The odds of a modern American civil war are mediocre at best. I don’t foresee a full scale conflict in the coming months, but I don’t see absolute peace either. The likely result will be constant demonstrations and skirmishes between organizations and authorities– because the unrest is undeniable at this point.
America indisputably made a mistake this past fall. This isn’t a matter of Republican versus Democrat– this is a matter of right versus wrong; knowledge versus ignorance; humility versus pride; nationalism versus diplomacy.
Advisers: James Cooley, Cody Hunley
This election has been unprecedented in terms of divisiveness. Part of that reality is due to the fact that we are not as politically segregated today as we have been for much of American history. No longer are Republicans and Democrats separated by state lines, but rather by six-foot privacy fences. This year, it wasn’t North versus South or city versus country– it was neighbor versus neighbor.
That’s a tough world to live in. On the internet you can create a bubble, and only interact with people who echo your own beliefs, but in the real world it’s not so easy. You cannot avoid interacting with your neighbors, the girl at the gas station, your waiter, or your classmates. Differing opinions surround us, and that’s what makes us stronger together.
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump took these divides and built a wall between them. He took the angriest, nastiest underbellies of American ideology and pitted us against each other.
By alienating the “liberal elite” and distorting a very real and very justified Middle America anger, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump divided a nation.
Two days ago, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump became Presidential Elect Donald Trump.
In two short months, Presidential Elect Donald Trump will graduate to President Donald Trump– and that man will inherit a divided nation of his own making.
Middle America is still angry. The poor, white, struggling class of Americans are still poor and struggling. The difference now is that the other side of the spectrum is angry too.
Racial and religious minorities, women and college students are angry too. The idea that their neighbors–people that they know and love– would vote for antiquated ideals that don’t take their existence into account has fueled the same anger felt by Middle America.
The question now, is how will President Donald Trump handle the mess he created?
The first objective of the Republic is to preserve the Republic– and ideal left far behind when Trump decided to run a campaign based on ignorance and bias.
If President Donald Trump is the same man as Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, is preservation of the Republic on the table at all?
If President Donald Trump is not the same man as Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, where will this existing anger be channeled? Will he follow through on his promises to the Angry Middle?
The best we can do is be tolerant of each other. President Donald Trump, regardless of who he ends up being, can only do so much. We the people cannot be hateful, ignorant, or intolerant of each other. At the end of the day, we are still all neighbors.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to live in fear of my neighbors.
When I was eight years old, my third-grade teacher assigned us a project on our future career. I chose “First Woman President” as my career. Today, I cast my ballot in the hopes of never fulfilling my third-grade dream—but rather allowing Hillary Clinton the honor.
The past eighteen months have been arguably some of the most divisive in U.S. history, and today it ends. At the end of the day, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will have been elected President of the United States, and I can only hope that we have chosen well.
Through all of the rhetoric and debate and passion, I am comfortable with my choice. A President Trump does not represent my ideals, and I believe doesn’t represent the ideals of a lot of the people who are voting for him. Trump is a man who is so consumed with himself that he couldn’t possibly be fit to run this country, and nothing could dissuade me from this stand.
At the end of the day, Hillary’s emails don’t matter. Her political history doesn’t matter. The FBI doesn’t matter. What does matter is the freedoms her platform offers. Today, I voted for freedom.
I voted for affordable healthcare.
I voted for education reform.
I voted for reproductive rights and closing the wage gap.
I voted for the decriminalization of marijuana and for LGBTQ rights.
If today, you voted for Donald J. Trump, there is nothing that I can say that will convince you of your mistake. All I can do is try to reassure you: nobody is trying to take away your guns. We don’t want to tax you out of existence, and your “way of life” is not at stake. America does not need God. We don’t want to rip babies apart, and we aren’t cheating.
Donald Trump is not our answer, and America is still great. I would like to keep it that way.
Today, I voted for the America that I would be proud to live in.
Today, I am with her.