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Trump Echoing Fascists Doesn’t Dissuade Likely GOP Iowa Caucusgoers

43 percent say it doesn’t matter that Trump said he would have “no choice” but to lock up his political opponents.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at the Hyatt Hotel on December 13, 2023, in Coralville, Iowa.

Donald Trump believes in eugenics. He really does. Of course, his understanding of it is purely based upon his own belief in his superior genes and good “German blood.” He’s said it many times in public:

When he said during his first term that he didn’t understand why the U.S. allowed people from “shit-hole countries” to emigrate to the U.S. and suggested that we should encourage people from Norway to come instead, it wasn’t hard to figure out what he meant by that. His xenophobia never applied to white European immigrants. After all, he married two of them and they are the mothers of four of his five children. His problem is with people of different races.

If someone of a different race expresses devotion to him then of course he likes them. Think of Kim Jong Un, whom he considers to be one of his greatest allies. But it’s a very individual thing. For the most part, Trump believes that people from the “shit-hole” countries are genetically inferior to people like him with his good German blood.

Trump’s out campaigning in earnest now as the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary are just weeks away. And if anyone thought he was going to soft-peddle the “Hitleresque” rhetoric, they were way off base. His basic stump speech is all about banning immigration by those who don’t “share our ideology” (whatever he means by that), and rounding people up here in the U.S. and putting them in camps. He’s not being subtle about who he’s talking about.

This “blood poisoning” rhetoric is literally right out of Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf, in which he wrote, “all great cultures of the past perished only because the originally creative race died out from blood poisoning.” By that Hitler meant the Jews were polluting the Aryan bloodstream (although he had a long list of others who were poisoning that good German blood as well) and Trump is talking about everyone except for white people and people of color who worship him personally. But they’re on the same wavelength. This is not an accident and Trump isn’t speaking off the cuff. It’s in his prepared speeches and he’s not taking it out. Why would he? It’s a big applause line and that’s how he knows it’s working.

It’s tempting to believe that Trump doesn’t actually know that he’s “parroting Adolph Hitler” as the White House charged after his latest tribute to the monstrous, genocidal maniac. After all, it’s pretty clear that he hasn’t read a book since he was in middle school (if then) and his knowledge of history is limited to a handful of WWII movies. But he doesn’t need to. Even if his personal Heinrich Himmler, Stephen Miller, wrote the words, it’s obvious from Trump’s casual conversation that he is in complete agreement with the fascist sentiments underlying “poisoning the blood of the country.” It’s fundamental to his beliefs about himself and his own superior genetic make-up.

Recall that one of the biggest controversies of his first two years came about because of his response to the protest march in Charlottesville Virginia. A group of alt-right men dressed in a sort of uniform of white polo shirts and khaki pants had gathered one night to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. They marched around with tiki torches chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil” which seemed extreme even for the Trump years. At a counter-protest the next day one of the alt-right protesters drove through a crowd killing a woman, Heather Heyer. Trump was irritated that the neo-Nazi group was being blamed for what happened and famously declared that “there were good people on both sides,” suggesting that not all Nazis are bad people.

The “blood and soil” chant comes right out of the Third Reich and it’s also echoed in Trump’s repeated reference to “poisoning the blood of the country.” Wikipedia defines it as “a nationalist slogan expressing Nazi Germany’s ideal of a racially defined national body (“Blood”) united with a settlement area (“Soil”). By it, rural and farm life forms are idealized as a counterweight to urban ones.” Does that sound familiar at all?

Hitler also targeted “the enemy within” for persecution, imprisonment and death. According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, those included:

Roma (Gypsies), people with disabilities, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, and Afro-Germans. The Nazis also identified political dissidents, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and so-called asocials as enemies and security risks either because they consciously opposed the Nazi regime or some aspect of their behavior did not fit Nazi perceptions of social norms. They sought to eliminate domestic non-conformists and so-called racial threats through a perpetual self-purge of German society.

Here’s Trump over the weekend promising to purge America of undesirables. (They have persuaded him not to use the word vermin … for now.)

His list also includes “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” and he has vowed to “expel,” “cast out,” “throw off,” “rout,” “evict” and “purge” his enemies. This is right out of the Nazi playbook.

Trump is always looking for a way to thrill his followers with a new outrage so it’s easy to say he’s just putting on a show. But I think he means it. He’s very bitter and angry at half of America for not loving him unconditionally and his thirst for revenge is overwhelming. It’s not about ideology, it’s personal. But the program that he’s contemplating as his instrument to pay back all those who’ve refused to bow and scrape before him is a full-on fascist agenda. And he knows it (the man watches a lot of TV.) He just believes it will work for him.

And he may be right, at least as far as the Republican base is concerned. They may not be aware of, or care about, the echoes of Hitler in his words but they like what they are hearing. According to a new poll by the Des Moines Register, “43% of likely Republican caucusgoers [] say they are more likely to support him.” Asked about his statement that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of the country,” 42% say the same thing. And 43% say “It doesn’t matter that Trump said he would have ‘no choice’ but to lock up his political opponents.”

Back in the early days of the internet, there was a thing called Godwin’s Law which held that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.” It was assumed to mean that the discussion had devolved into absurdity and should be abandoned when that happens. I fear that too many people may end up assuming that about these discussions as well. But the man who coined the adage, Mike Godwin, wrote a clarification a few years back, after the events in Charlottesville:

It still serves us as a tool to recognize specious comparisons to Nazism — but also, by contrast, to recognize comparisons that aren’t. And sometimes the comparisons can spot the earliest symptoms of horrific “attitudes, actions and language” well before our society falls prey to the full-blown disease.

Just because Trump’s first term didn’t result in the full flowering of Nazi America doesn’t mean that the signs weren’t there. He has been saying things for years that point inexorably to his underlying fascist worldview. And even more disturbing, the response he gets from his tens of millions of followers clearly shows that they share it.

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