December 15, 2020 at 2:41 pm EST | by Peter Rosenstein
Trump, Republicans model the Third Reich
Republican Party, gay news, Washington Blade
President Donald Trump (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Donald Trump and the Republican Party are clearly using Hitler and the Third Reich as their model for how to destroy democracy in the United States. We are lucky we are strong enough they won’t succeed in the long run. 

It has been reported: “According to a 1990 Vanity Fair interview, Ivana Trump once told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that her husband, real-estate mogul Donald Trump, now a leading Republican presidential candidate, kept a book of Hitler’s speeches near his bed.” While it is clear Trump doesn’t read much, recent events make this a believable story.

In judging the impact Trump’s speeches and lies have had one must only look at the recent actions of the Republican Party in Texas, led by their attorney general Ken Paxton who himself is reported to be under FBI investigation, to invalidate the vote in four other states. This spurious action was supported by 17 other state attorneys general and 126 Republican members of Congress. One can look at this in two ways. The first is all are so dumb they don’t know the United States is a federation. Under our system of federalism we don’t have one national election but rather each state holds an election. The total vote is counted and reported but each state’s election determines which candidate’s electors will participate in the Electoral College vote, which decides who will be the president and vice president. My take is these Republicans do understand that which makes their actions seditious (inciting or causing people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch). 

The 126 members of Congress who supported this lawsuit not only know about our democracy and our Constitution, they each took an oath that says: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

So will those 126 members suffer any consequences for their actions? While some suggest they not be seated in the next Congress, my view is they should all be censured. At a minimum they should have such a mark next to their names in our history books. While the Justices of the Supreme Court did the right thing by not taking the case, and we should thank them, those filing and lending their names to it should not escape without any repercussions. 

Trump has now attacked the Supreme Court suggesting because they didn’t side with him the justices lack courage; I think it showed they had some. He has attacked individual judges around the country for throwing out all the specious cases his team is filing; he has attacked members of his own party like Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for being unwilling to overturn the will of the voters. He has supported white nationalists and Neo Nazis. He refuses to concede the election and incited his supporters like the ‘Proud Boys’ to protest in the streets. He is using his bully pulpit to subvert our democracy just like Hitler did in Germany.

Will people stand up to him and his supporters in ways that will be remembered? That has yet to be seen and we may not know until the next general election or we could see it in the Georgia Senate run-off races. I am not for using violence to respond but there can be actions such as the one reported taken by the Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board which wrote, “The newspaper apologizes for endorsing GOP Rep. Michael Waltz who backed election reversal.” Newspapers around the nation that endorsed one of the other 125 members of Congress who joined Waltz should be doing the same. The fact we haven’t seen them do it yet is an indication of how strong the ‘cult’ of Trump is. He has a Hitler-like hold on the minds of people who in other ways we would consider normal. 

The willingness of other elected Republicans to follow Trump’s lead for fear of losing their next election if they don’t is mindboggling. It might signal the final death knell of the Republican Party as we once knew it. If their behavior doesn’t change the party deserves to die.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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