I can’t count the number of times I have seen Trump compared to Hitler, both in his mannerisms and methodology, but it is often met with the statement “That can’t happen here. We’re a democracy”. I usually have to bite my tongue to keep from telling these people to pick up a history book, and research the origins and rise of fascism in the early 20th century. None of the fascist leaders that managed to seize power, did so by running on a fascist dictator ticket. They maneuvered themselves into the role with the skills of a consummate con-artist, and it was only after they had seized power did the signs of a dictator begin to emerge.
After World War I much of the world was in turmoil, especially the European sector. Economic and cultural crises plagues Europe, and left the people desperate for a new way of life. It was within the tumultuous aftermath of the war that a vacuum was created, both economically and socially, giving a new faction the prevalent factors necessary for the rise of a new political party. This new system, fascism, evolved as a protest against democracy, socialism, and communist ideology. Once it fully emerged, it proved that it was truly a force to be reckoned with.
While the economic and cultural turmoil that ravaged Europe after the war set the stage for the rise of fascism, it was actually the leaders who stepped forward to seize power that were the true driving force behind this cultic phenomenon. Fascism prevailed in countries and areas where the old system no longer seemed to work, and the people had become disenfranchised. They were disillusioned and forgotten by their deep seeded democracy, and feelings of nationalism were in overdrive.
Mussolini was the originator of the totalitarian system that became known as fascism. He used propaganda to reach the people, and tactics that were focused on propagating feelings of distrust and disillusionment with the current organization. He knew that in order to maintain the power he desired, he must have the people united and fully behind him, either through fear or passion. The state, rather than the individual, is the focus of fascism. Mussolini, as did all other fascists after him, appealed to the working and middle classes, and that demographic became his greatest supporters.
The most widely known fascist leader followed Mussolini’s lead, and showed the world the true darkness that fascism can bring. Hitler became the fascist dictator for Germany in the 1930s. Even though his goals were much darker than Mussolini’s, he proved he was a truly charismatic leader who could easily seduce an entire populace. His greatest power lay in the fact that he could captivate an entire crowd with his speaking ability, and ignite a nationalistic flame that roared to life from a dying ember. He was so charismatic, that he even managed to get the women to adore him even as he took away their personal freedoms and liberty.
There have been other less notable fascists rising to power since the demise of Hitler’s Nazi regime, but none of them made the same headlines as Hitler and Mussolini, until now. Trump is using every page from the fascist’s handbook, and doing it shamelessly. He is using the same methodologies, the same rhetoric, and appealing to the same demographic. This is most certainly a fascist uprising in America.
Trump used American pride and the concept of patriotism to seize power. He doesn’t possess Hitler’s oratory skills, and does not possess either man’s intellect. But he does know how to inspire and impassion the disillusioned, and angry people. He focused on, and over-exaggerated the threat to this nation from other cultures. He has painted Muslims and Mexicans with the same dark imagery that Hitler used to define the Jews and Gyspies. As does every fascist leader before him, he has convinced his followers that America is a nation in distress and he alone has the power to save them. He focuses on the violence in the streets, and works people into a frenzy of fear.
Fascism promises dreams of grandeur and a return to greatness for the nation. The first step for the rise of every fascist leader is to gain the faith of his people, while simultaneously strengthening their distrust of the current government. A fascist dictator adds fuel to the feelings of nationalistic anger that are usually burning, turning the anger into a massive inferno, thereby allowing a dictator to seize the power they crave. This nationalistic fervor, and focus on ultimate power and superiority are the icons of the fascist ideology.
When you analyze these three men, their methods are all the same, they merely differ in their motives. Mussolini created the blueprint, and all who came after him have followed it. Mussolini wanted power and self-advancement, Hitler wanted to create a superior race of people, Trump has merged the two goals into one ultra-dark picture. He wants the power, fame and self-advancement as did Mussolini, but he also wants to advance the Aryan nation as did Hitler. The other motives for Trump’s rise revolve around his finances and business matters, as well as his extreme narcissistic personality. Regardless of their personal motives, all of these men knew how to tell people what they want to hear, and how to enflame their nationalistic zeal. By strengthening the bitterness which engulfed their nations, and making promises of a better and nationally superior future, they won over the masses.
Fascist dictators share a common trait, they are narcissists to their core, but they are also skilled manipulators. They make people feel alive again, and full of hope and enthusiasm; even though their promises are destined to be revealed as an illusion created by a consummate con artist. They know how to take advantage of circumstances, and promise the people what they want to hear. They manipulate, excite, enrage, and conquer their own people through the power of their own ingenuity and charisma. They bring a darkness, that carries the threat of ultimate destruction and potential downfall. The aftermath of a nation seized by fascism is always a bleak and tragic reality.