I am personally not very fond of doughy presidential candidate Donald Trump — in fact, I think he’s an authoritarian demagogue who would be a total disaster as president. That said, I do not believe he’s the next Adolf Hitler. If anything, he’s the American version of the infamously corrupt and comparably flamboyant Silvo Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister whose greatest accomplishment was educating the world about the joys of bunga bunga parties.
That said, a lot of people from across the political spectrum actually do think that Trump is very Hitleresque and they all expressed varying degrees of alarm about his rise over the weekend.
It’s not surprising that liberals like Bill Maher would compare Trump to Hitler — after all, partisans on both sides of the aisle like to make hyperbolic comparisons between their opponents and the most evil person in history. That’s why Maher’s Trump-Hitler comparison on Real Time on Friday didn’t raise a lot of eyebrows since it was something you’d expect him to do.
What was surprising, however, was to see conservative pundit Glenn Beck appear on ABC’s This Week to decry Trump as a 21st Century fascist. Here’s the video:
“You know, Adolf Hitler — we all look at Adolf Hitler in 1940,” Beck said. “We should look at him in 1929. He was the kind of funny, character that said the things that people were thinking. Where Donald Trump takes it, I have absolutely no idea.”
Beck, of course, has compared lots of people to Hitler in the past but this might be the first time he’s made common cause with left-wing pundits to accuse a follow Republican of being the next Hitler.
Politically unaffiliated comedian Louis C.K. also got into the action by begging his fans to not vote for Trump over the weekend. The reason? You guessed it: Hitler!
“It was funny for a little while,” he said. “But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the ’30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.”
And then there was Saturday Night Live, which didn’t directly compare Trump to Hitler but did put together this clever “Racists for Trump” parody ad:
So what’s the big takeaway here? Well, a lot of people are comparing Trump to Hitler but I really wish they wouldn’t.
The reason for this is that if you constantly compare people you don’t like to Hitler, it makes you like the boy who cried wolf. That means when someone who really is another Hitler comes along, people won’t believe you because the last 50 Hitlers you condemned never really panned out.
None of this means that Donald Trump is a good presidential candidate. I think he’s clearly terrible — after all, I really don’t want to elect a president who will call German chancellor Angela Merkel a “low-energy bimbo” if they have disagreements during a NATO summit.
However, you can be a terrible presidential candidate without being Hitler. And if you want to convince voters to stop supporting him, you might want to dial back the hyperbole just a tiny bit or else they might not take you seriously.