Wake Up

Wake Up

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

It may be too late but there are signs in various places that the country finally recognizes the devil in our midst. This is no longer total fanaticizing. Trump’s behavior has begun show enough parallels in his actual campaign strategy to Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany that there is nothing to laugh at. It is no longer subtle. It has aroused enough concern that reports suggest that the Republican Party is no longer concerned about why Trump has captured the Party but just finding a way to stop him. It, however, may be too late. If this sounds like the 1930’s; it should.

The events just keep escalating and the parallels keep growing and when Abe Foxman, former director of the ADL leaps in too, it must be getting serious. Foxman, unlike others—including the Simon Wiesenthal Center—is not constantly waving the banner of anti-Semitism or the Holocaust. As he observed in the Times of Israel, the use of the Nazi salute at the Trump rallies last weekend and thereafter is over the top.

Now comes Politico reporting that Trump is cracking down on protesters. The report suggests the presence of private plainclothes officers looking for protesters amongst the Trump crowd. So not only are the attendees being asked to raise their hands and pledge to vote for Trump, but perceived protesters are being excluded from the crowd. These new Trump campaign tactics include these same officers reportedly also limiting the contact between the press and the public.

All of this follows the actions taken last week– captured on video—of a Secret Service agent in a fight with a press photographer who was being choked by the agent. While this incident is being investigated by the Treasury Department, it is the first alleged event captured on tape of other members of the press being pushed around by the agents. It seems that while Trump began by ridiculing protesters, fingering them in the crowd, and letting his own masses do the work, now Trump would rather just eliminate First Amendment rights of a free press, free speech, and freedom of assembly in one fell swoop.

The challenge has become rather clear. If Trump wins big tonight and defeats Rubio in Florida and Kasich in Ohio, while still it may be possible to stop Trump on delegates, he will have overwhelmed all is opponents in the States that he won. If his plurality at the convention does not then force the Republicans to capitulate to him—rather than an open convention after the first ballot–there may well be rioting in the streets. There have even been reported threats to burn down the convention if he is denied the nomination. The situation is sufficiently real that there are press reports that the Cleveland police and riot squads are preparing for major demonstrations should the Convention not anoint Trump. To make the analogy with the Thirties one need only consider the use of private enforcement agents (SA and SS) or the fact that one month after Hitler came to power the Reichstag was burned down. 

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