For more than a year thoughtful people all over America kept reassuring themselves that trump was going to self-destruct. Every time he made a fool of himself or violated Republican policy positions or stomped on the Constitution, there was a certain sigh of relief that at last trump has ruined his hopes of election.
What his critics have been slow to understand is that trump supporters are simply not thinking the same way as the rest of us. They do not care what his policies are. They do not care about the Constitution (except the NRA and its blind devotion to a particular reading of the Second Amendment). They do not care about the United States, its leaders or its citizens growing in maturity, wisdom, compassion, or any other virtue.
At one level, it is simply the case that they want a bully tough enough to punch the “other guy,” whomever he may be. they don’t even mind him swinging wildly and aimlessly, just so he is hitting someone. In fact, they don’t seem to recognize that chances are good that tomorrow it will be their own nose that gets socked.
There is a deeper level, of course. A people who are confused and feel threatened tend to want someone to take responsibility for them. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed in Germany, the desire to be rid of personal responsibility is a very strong motivation toward blindly following any leader who appears strong and sufficiently simplistic to get the job done with no wavering or hesitating.
You can point out a dozen or more ways in which trump is very, very much like Hitler but threat will discourage no one. The same helpless, desperate mentality that crippled Germany is alive and well in our own land.
Whenever there seems to be a leadership vacuum there are power hungry people who rush in to fill it with their own egos and lust for power. With the Republicans being blindly and irrationally opposed to anything and everything favored by our duly elected president, Washington has become just such a vacuum.
trump is happily and craftily exploiting the fears and insecurities that have marked 21st century America. He has answers very much like Hitler’s and – were it not for the balance of power built into our Constitution — he would have the same results as Hitler.