The unholy alliance between ethnic nationalism and big business saw its 20th century heyday in the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler. Ethnic Nationalists in this country have long been looking for their version of Germany’s Führer, and they have finally found him in Donald Trump, and with him, the hope of a 21st century redux.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported the other day,
With his campaign showing no signs on slowing down, Donald Trump continued his war on immigrants by introducing a six-page immigration plan that reads like the playbook of the organized anti-immigrant movement in America. Trump’s plan — calling for mass deportations, a border fence and gutting the 14th amendment — also strengthened his support among white nationalists.
The SPLC’s Hatewatch report shows praise coming in from white nationalist Brad Griffin on his website Occidental Dissent, from Jared Taylor, “one of the most significant white nationalists in the movement today” at American Renaissance, and from former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke.
What happened when Trump addressed a crowd in Mobile, Alabama, ought to give every American pause:
One person could be heard yelling “white power!” during Trump’s remarks, and white nationalist Olaf Childress, editor of the racist paper The First Freedom was on hand to pass out copies to attendees. The New York Times also interviewed a Trump supporter who stated, “Hopefully, he’s going to sit there and say, ‘When I become elected president, what we’re going to do is we’re going to make the border a vacation spot, it’s going to cost you $25 for a permit, and then you get $50 for every confirmed kill. That’d be one nice thing.”
“White power” is the American “Sieg Heil.” As Trump is speaking their language, he will likely hear many more of these.
If you look at Trump’s Greenville, South Carolina crowd, you see his demographic plainly:
The Lindsey Graham crowd. According to Trump, Graham’s former crowd (They’re his now). The combustible center of right wing angst. Old white people.
Trump is no former soldier. Unlike Hitler, he hasn’t faced an enemy in battle, been wounded, or won any medals. But like Hitler, he is subscribing to a homeland “stabbed in the back” mentality that rallies all the disgruntled and discontented to his banner, those who feel they have been betrayed by the establishment.
In 1930s Germany, this was the post-war leftist Weimar government. In 21st century America, it is another “leftist” government that is the target – the presidency of Barack Obama.
Jews, blacks, immigrants. It doesn’t matter. These are all people who are fundamentally unlike us, they say. Germany for the Germans. America for Americans. White. Like Jesus.
Hitler said Germany could be great again. Neither Trump nor Reagan invented the idea of lifting a nation from the ashes and restoring it to its former glory. And like Hitler, Trump is pushing the idea that the military has been betrayed by the politicians, and just as Hitler linked this betrayal to the Jews, Trump is linking it to immigrants:
Like post-war Germany, America is riddled with right wing militias, all eager to come to blows with the communists in their midst. The trouble with that analogy is that here in America, there are really no communists with which to come to grips. So conservatives have invented “other” communists: liberals, progressives, gays, atheists; anyone to the left of where they themselves are.
Despite their claim to represent a “silent majority,” their list of enemies includes most of the population.
Hitler had the Jews. Today’s right wing has had, until recently, to settle for Muslims, atheists, Hindus – and Jews – anyone, really, who isn’t what they perceive to be “Christian” and white. The concept of white has never been entirely about skin color in this country. Once upon a time, even the Irish weren’t considered white. Now Donald Trump has given them immigrants, who are mostly rapists and murderers anyway, he says.
The result of the Trump hatefest should not be surprising:
Stormfront, the Web’s largest white supremacists website founded by former Klan leader Don Black, has no less than nine threads discussing the New York billionaire’s plan. With a history of violence attributed to the site’s users, it’s no surprise that Trump’s supporters have begun calling for the murder of immigrants.
In one thread, a user claimed it would only be plausible to deport 25 percent of the undocumented immigrants in the country. Another user followed up with the statement, “Everyone in favor of shooting the rest…raise your hand.”
In a country where we already have police, the people whose job it is to protect and serve the public, gunning down or killing while in custody those portions of the public of which it does not approve, talk like this is not just talk. We have seen armed white men take to the streets at the possibility of gunning down black protesters in Ferguson. We have white ranchers emerging from armed showdowns with the federal government without consequence, and white militias are already patrolling our southern border while white men with their ubiquitous AR-15s infest restaurants and stores alike, using the Second Amendment like a weapon.
Too much should not be made of Walmart’s decision to stop selling AR-15a – announced the same day two journalists were murdered in Roanoke, Virginia – because the decision was not made in response to shootings there or elsewhere, but according to Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg, “slumping demand,” and the decision to cater to hunters and clay-shooters.
Ethnic nationalists militias will not be hard pressed to continue to arm themselves. The NRA has seen to that.
The biggest difference here is that Adolf Hitler needed the support of the 1 percent, and got it. They supported the Nazi party from its very early days. Donald Trump does not need the support of the 1 percent. He IS the 1 percent. People have always wondered how Germans let themselves be mislead by Hitler, but Americans need wonder no longer: we are seeing it for ourselves in the response to Donald Trump.
The totalitarian demagogue they have been waiting for has arrived, and he is leading them down a rosy path to destruction. We do not have to say violence will result. Violence has already resulted as a couple of would-be Trump stormtroopers beat a Hispanic man in his name.
Indeed, as in the days of Adolf Hitler, violence has preceded him in his march to power, because violence is inherent in the forces he is seeking both to harness and to unleash. And this is but a foretaste of what is to come, because the inevitable consequence of ethnic nationalism when given the power it craves, is ethnic cleansing.
Donald Trump has already promised us that, and look out, because if you’re not with Trump, he has already made clear you are against him, and his well-armed supporters enthusiastically agree.