I've long resisted the urge to compare Trump to Hitler because of the Internet axiom that if you bring the Nazis into an argument, you've lost. But the comparisons are mounting up way too high for reasonable people to ignore. It's not just the cult of personality. It's not just the fact that he courts white supremacists with a wink and a nod. It's not that he intentionally fosters an atmosphere at his rallies where his supporters gleefully cheer the physical abuse of protesters and anyone who is different.
It's also not just the shocking level of power that he thinks he should have as President, complete with the right to unilaterally dictate United States trade policy. Even his signature campaign promise - to make Mexico pay for the wall that will never be built - is premised around the authority he believes he should have to unilaterally dictate that American companies cannot conduct business with Mexican ones.
But, fine, let's not compare Trump to Hitler. Let's compare him instead to Putin. Because that's exactly how Trump perceives the appropriate scope of Presidential authority. Observe what he said in Fort Worth earlier this week:
“One of the things I’m going to do, and I’ve never said this before,” Trump said at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, “but one of the things I’m going to do is — if I win — is I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposefully negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.”
Part of this, to be sure, is rank ignorance of United States law. There's no such thing as Federal libel law - libel law exists as a creature of all 50 states, but each state's libel law is constrained by the First Amendment of the United States constitution. As President of the United States, Trump does not have the authority to either rewrite the Federal constitution or change the libel law of any of the 50 states. But the fact that he believes he should be able to beyond troubling, it's downright terrifying.
And once Trump gets to office, if he discovers that he isn't able to do this specific thing, he will doubtless be advised that there are all sorts of other nasty things he can do to any member of the media who disagrees with him. Under President Trump, we will doubtless learn that the harassment of Sharyl Attkisson was just a charming blip on the radar compared to the various ways that Trump will use to intimidate members of the press from criticizing him. Audits, harassment, open intimidation - these will become the order of the day.
Trump has no interest in facing an American press - he wants a subservient, Russian style press instead.
Make no mistake, Trump is priming his own supporters to actually cheer him if he does this. I saw first hand when I sat in the media section at Trump rally in Cedar Rapids on the day of the Iowa caucuses, how his supporters walked by and jeered at the assembled media, treating them as some species of particularly loathsome insect.
In fact, Trump has lathered his mindless minions into such a lather over the press that it likely backfired on him yesterday during his Christie announcement, as it is strongly suspected that members of his own crowd sabotaged the video feed of both CNN and MSNBC, thus meaning that those two networks could only carry audio of the Christie endorsement.
Look, I'm no friend of the media, as I've made clear over the decade-plus that I've been on the front page of RedState. But neither do I want some goon like Donald Trump to have all the awesome power of the Federal government at his fingertips to actually intimidate members of the media who are critical to him. That's not the way Reagan got past the media and that's not the way and no American should feel comfortable with the way Trump talks openly and threateningly about the press. Call them liberal, fine. Point out their bias, fine. Openly intimidate them, not fine.
Barack Obama has come under a lot of well-justified abuse here at RedState for his actions that have disregarded both the role of Congress and the limits of his own power under the Constitution. Trump, in his speeches, clearly indicates his belief that his own totalitarian instincts are worse - far worse, in fact. This man must not be allowed anywhere near the White House.