In the early days of the internet when discussions on user boards and chat rooms became heated, someone would inevitably be called a “Nazi,” usually for a specious reason. Many boards and rooms adopted a rule known as “Godwin’s Law” that stated the discussion, whatever it was, would end whenever the “Nazi” analogy was raised.
The law was named after American attorney and author Mike Godwin, who coined the rule in 1990. Today, it’s a relic of a bygone era. “Nazi” references are all over the place with no penalty for using the term.
I thought of Godwin’s Law when news “broke” that Donald Trump used the word “vermin” to describe his political opponents.
“Trump Calls Political Enemies ‘Vermin,’ Echoing Dictators Hitler, Mussolini,” blared the Washington Post headline.
Michael Tomasky at The New Republic went WaPo one better: “It’s Official: With ‘Vermin,” Trump is Now Using Straight-Up Nazi Talk.”
Where the Washington Post says Trump echoes Nazis, Tomasky comes right out and says he talks like a Nazi.
Does talking like a Nazi or echoing Nazis mean that Donald Trump is a… a… (don’t say it) Nazi?
The use of the word “vermin” by Hitler was an antisemitic dog whistle after Joseph Goebbels created a series of animated cartoons showing Jews as rats. So was Trump describing Jews when he used the word?
Well, no. But the key question is: did Trump use the word “vermin” deliberately, knowing it would cause his leftist opponents to melt down into a puddle of hysterical outrage?
Trump gave a Veterans Day speech on Saturday and went full-on Hitler, promising to “root out” the commies, the Marxists, and the fascists.
“We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections,” Trump said toward the end of his speech. “They’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American Dream.”
Where he really channeled Adolf was in claiming that the domestic threat was more dangerous than the foreign threat.
He said, “The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within. Our threat is from within. Because if you have a capable, competent, smart, tough leader, Russia, China, North Korea, they’re not going to want to play with us.”
Hitler had brown shirts, the SS, the Gestapo, and the “whole odious apparatus” of Nazism. What’s Trump got? The Proud Boys? Oath Keepers? Moms for Liberty? Let’s get real.
No Trump is not a Nazi. He’s not even close. He’d be a very bad dictator. As we saw in his first term, the promises on the left that Trump was going to destroy the Constitution or set up some kind of authoritarian nightmare of a government never came close to panning out.
Every time the left calls Trump a Nazi, he gets 10,000 more votes. By the time election day arrives Trump will have won in a landslide.