Trump promises “unified reich” if reelected

by | May 21, 2024 | The Recent Modern Age, Current Politics, Linguistics & Philology

I almost always object to the left’s use of “fascist” and “Nazi” for their political opponents. Those terms are inflammatory and almost always inaccurate. In fact, most American conservatives – the left’s usual targets – treasure democracy.

This week, however, Donald Trump put terms like “fascist” and “Nazi” on the table. And whether they’re accurate or not, he reaffirmed another description of his rule: “authoritarian.”

“Unified Reich”

Trump and Putin (who is turning Russia into a "unified reich")

Trump has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin, the world’s leading authoritarian

Donald Trump’s followers often say he speaks his mind, and that seems to be true when he has no incentive to lie. On Monday, he had no incentive to lie. He posted a video using the term “unified Reich” for America after his (promised) 2024 election win. He chose Adolf Hitler’s term for his regime.1See, “Trump’s social media account shares a campaign video with a headline about a ‘unified Reich,’” Associated Press (May 20, 2024).

After the resulting uproar, Trump took down the video. If this were an isolated incident – leading to an apology and termination of campaign staff – I’d call it merely troubling. But this comes from a man who’s talked about ruling as a dictator, who praises and supports authoritarian leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who’s threatened political opponents with violence, who’s embraced support by White supremacists, who’s put forward a long list of conspiracy theories, and who’s expressed and displayed contempt for democratic checks and balances. Those things all describe Hitler too. The German führer, furthermore, took office through an election (though without ever winning a majority) and then ended democracy in his reich.

Authoritarian Incentives

An authoritarian ruler has one overarching concern. If he wants to stay out of jail and avoid the firing squad, he must remain in power for life or ensure that he’s succeeded by an ally. If Donald Trump takes office again, he will have no choice but to make sure a Republican supporter wins the 2028 election – that there is no chance anyone unfriendly succeeds him. Whether fascist or not, Trump’s reich would lead the most powerful person in the world to do everything he can to oppose democracy.

© 2024 by David W. Tollen


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