I never thought Trump was a Hitler, despite striking parallels. In 1933 many Germans felt bitterly humiliated and economically betrayed from losing WW1, suffering the Versailles treaty, losing their savings to hyperinflation, and facing the Depression. The Weimar Republic could not cure these ills, and its humane leaders were not skillful campaigners. Up rose a fascinating demagogue whose description of Germany’s problems had elements of truth, who blamed others, not the humiliated Germans, for those problems--Communists, homosexuals, international bankers, the Jews—and whose conviction that he could make Germany great again was persuasive to many. His diagnosis and his solutions, like his propensity for violence, fit German prejudices and suited many military and business leaders as well. He offered bitter German men a voice and a cause, plus the possibility of strength through violence. And so they elected Hitler.
Trump has not Hitler’s enemies and goals, nor his ideological fervor. But he has something like Hitler's demagogic talents and Hitler's predilection for blaming wrongs on minorities and foreigners, along with a history of blatant racism and sexism. Moreover, McConnell-type Tea Party Republicans--his core supporters--have insisted, with a whiff of Hitler's Brown Shirts, on wrecking existing social and political norms.Fortunately, there are major differences that will prevent this nightmare from becoming our reality. Unlike 1933 Germany, American voters are a kaleidoscope of identities, not just white men. There are other important differences too, but most of all we do have the examples of history. We know from Hitler, Stalin, the North Koreans, Vladimir Putin, and many other examples that civilization and economic well-being cannot flourish in the company of demagoguery and the whims of a psychologically unstable leader.