Hyperbole and the H-word

Over the course of Donald Trump’s increasingly divorced from reality presidency (speaking of Covid-19 in the past tense as US leads the world in infections and deaths, railing against baseless witch hunts against the stable genius, denying Russian meddling in 2020 in spite of several reports, including the bipartisan Republican-led Senate report, and so on) it is tempting, to people like me, to compare the president to current dictators and fascist leaders of the past.

Some regard these comparisons as hyperbole. “Please, Hitler killed MILLIONS! Mussolini made his enemies drink oil until they shit themselves! Please! You dilute the monstrousness of world-class, history-shaping fascists by comparing this relatively mild-mannered autocrat to them!”

So while a president who believes his power is virtually absolute, supported by an Attorney General who shares his beliefs in a Unitary Executive whose powers may not be legitimately checked or balanced by judges or Congress, may resemble an authoritarian strongman in various ways, one should be very careful comparing a US president, whatever his flaws of excesses, to, say, Hitler.

All that said, neo-Nazis all love Mr. Trump, a man who speaks their language, backing them on every issue dear to them. Recently German far-right extremists, in Berlin, mounted a pro-Trump rally. I’m not saying these Hitler-revering Germans should have the last word on Mr. Trump’s politics and potential, I’m just sayin’.

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