‘Go ahead, vote for the guy with the loud voice who hates minorities…’
There is a dangerous political cliché where people liken their opposition to Adolf Hitler; thus, minimizing the atrocities committed by the Nazi leader. In reality, there is no player on the world stage that poses a threat even close to that of Hitler. But many are right to believe that Donald Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican party on a tide of white resentment eerily resembles that of Hitler in post-World War I Germany.
Back in September, an article published in Newsweek noted the undeniable similarities between the rhetorical styles of Trump and Hitler. “What makes the comparison between Hitler and Trump so poignant is not just the rhetorical marginalization of groups, lifestyles or beliefs, but the fact that both men represent their personal character as the antidote to all social and political problems,” the article read. Both political figures eschewed their expertise or policy positions to gain support, in favor of boasting about their personal struggles. “Instead—they suggest—their own personal ‘struggle’ shaped them into—supposedly—authentic leaders, capable of overcoming adversity through sheer force of character,” the article reads.
These similarities are why this post from Twitter user Johan Franklin, a former German citizen living in the U.S., resonated with people across the world.
Oh look, a message from our friends overseas. #PresidentialElection #Elections2016 #ElectionDay @realDonaldTrump… https://t.co/7NQJsbzCBW— Johan Franklin (@Johan Franklin)1478274556.0
“Of course I can’t speak for the entire population of Germany,” Franklin said in a tweet clarifying his original remarks. “But from what I hear from friends and family back home, what I read on German news sites and social media, many Germans are just scared shitless that an obvious demagogue and outright liar can gather so many people behind him.” Franklin also believes that Trump’s surprising popularity shows that a Hitler-esque authoritarian is capable of rising to power in America. “Whenever I traveled outside Germany in the past,” Franklin wrote. “I’ve often been asked how the German people could have fallen for Hitler back in the 30s and 40s. ‘How could your people not have known?’ they asked. I don’t get that much question lately.”