He may still be primus inter stultī (“first among idiots”), but Donald Trump’s poll numbers are falling. On November 22, the Trumpster was the darling of 43% of all registered GOP voters. Five days later, he was down to 31%. It represents the biggest drop in his poll numbers since he emerged as the front-runner last summer.
For better or worse, it appears that Trump’s big mouth is digging his own political grave. His now-infamous comments about Mexican immigrants did not endear him to Hispanics, but apparently, alienating that significant and increasingly-powerful demographic wasn’t enough. As he continues on the campaign trail, Trump continues to expose himself for the lying, insensitive, racist buffoon that he is.
This sudden drop in Trump’s popularity comes in the wake of comments he made following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, in which he announced his support of requiring all Muslims in the U.S. to register with a special database – rather similar to what was done with German Jews in the late 1930s.
It’s an apt comparison: Trump has been endorsed by a Neo-Nazi, white supremacist publication. He also recently mocked a disabled reporter who had the temerity to question and criticize him (the Nazi regime was not especially kind to the disabled). In fact, Trump’s campaign is increasingly resembling the type of fascism that plunged the world into a global conflict, seventy-five years ago.
This is no coincidence. Trump has been obsessed with and had an affection for Hitler for decades. He even has kept a copy of Hitler’s speeches by his bed, not the Bible. From Vanity Fair:
Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed. Kennedy now guards a copy of My New Order in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade. Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveals his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.
“Did your cousin John give you the Hitler speeches?” I asked Trump.
Trump hesitated. “Who told you that?”
“I don’t remember,” I said.
“Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew. (“I did give him a book about Hitler,” Marty Davis said. “But it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”)
Later, Trump returned to this subject. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”
Apparently, Donald Trump is so self-preoccupied and narcissistic that he actually believes that people will embrace him for being a fascist and a racist. Well, as Thom Hartmann has pointed out on occasion, candidates using Trump’s style and approach might have succeeded in Germany eight decades ago. However, Germany at that time was a largely homogenous society with little experience in representative democracy. Fascism (in one form or another) has attempted to infect the body politic of the U.S. more than once in our history – but has invariably failed to get even a toehold in the long run. Such tactics ultimately fail in the pluralistic and diverse U.S., which has had almost 240 years to experiment and refine the concept of democratic government.
It would seem that (to quote a popular television and film character), “it is our differences that have made us strong.”
Trump shouldn’t feel too bad about his downward trajectory. He’s in good company; Mad Doctor Ben Carson has fallen to 15% in the polls, with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz tied for third place at 8%. Aye, ’tis a shoddy, slovenly and scurvy lot that crews the bad ship G.O.P. Disaster ‘cross the Campaign Seas – and the Republican Establishment and more moderate party members are in full-on panic mode, with some calling for Mitt Romney to join the race.
It may be far too late for GOP and conservative moderates to fix what they themselves created. Instead of spending so much time reading The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, they should have been studying The Modern Prometheus by Mary Woolstonecraft Shelly. They could have learned a lot from Dr. Victor Frankenstein.