With Senator Sanders endorsing Hilary Clinton in the past few days, the 2016 Presidential election will be contested by former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump.
Now, if you are familiar with my blog, you will know that I have written a lot on the electoral process so far. However, I have been careful to avoid some of Trump’s more controversial remarks and beliefs. However, as Trump’s position has become increasingly official, I have heard one word in particular used to describe him- Nazi.
I have no love or respect for Donald Trump and I do not want for this piece to be interpreted as any kind of defence for Trump’s words or actions, but Donald Trump is not a Nazi.
First, let’s breakdown the hierarchy of vocabulary associated with racial hatred and racial superiority. At the base, the most widely-appliable term is ‘white supremacy’. White supremacy is the belief that people of Caucasian heritage are the superior race on Earth and should be afforded liberties and privileges afforded with said superiority. They also believe that those who are not part of this superior race should have to willing submit to their white masters.
Then you have ‘fascism’, the political ideology that liberal democracy is an obselete concept and that a totalitarian one-party state is the only viable form of government. In practice, this gives way to fierce nationalist beliefs and often white supremacist control of the nation, especially as fascism has only largely been seen in practice in European nations.
Finally we have the most specific term- Nazi. Nazi is a colloquial term for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and describes the governing political party of Germany between 1933 and 1945. The word can also be used to describe members of this party.The Nazis are the ‘best known’ for starting the Second World War and instigating ‘The Final Solution’ in 1942, which would led to the death of six million Jews, as well as hundreds of thousands of Romani, political prisoners, homosexuals and other groups deemed unfit to live by the Nazis.
Now, let’s start grouping things together. Groups like the KKK, the American Freedom Party, the National Party of Europe, the British National Party, Blood and Honour and individuals like Tom Metzger are what can be described as white supremacists or at the very least, white nationalists. They believe that whites should be given priority treatment as they are the superior race. At the more moderate end of the spectrum, they want to protect their historically white nations from the ‘threat’ of immigrants and ‘inferior’ races.
Then there’s fascism this is a lot less prevalent since the fall of the fascist regimes of the 1940s and later, the collapse of General Franco’s Spanish regime. ‘Neo-facism’ is often applied to groups, especially political organisations, who carry some of the core beliefs of fascism or have expressed admiration for Hitler, the Nazis, previous fascist regimes etc. This has been across the world, with movements such as military coup that took control of Bolivia in 1980; the PFI and their ideas of Indonesia Mulia, a concept similar to Hitler’s ‘Greater Germany’ vision and the previously mentioned British National Party, whose white nationalism is based on a platform of fascist ideology.
Finally, we have the specific term ‘Nazi’. Many nations around the world have legislation in place to make it a crime to identify as a Nazi, which is why we see a rise in neo-fascism rather than neo-Nazism. While some nations have groups that call themselves the -Insert country name here- Nazi Party, there is a much bigger debate to be had about whether a Nazi Party can truly exist today or whether Nazi should only refer to the party that exist in 1930s.
If I was forced to pick one term to describe Donald Trump, it would be white nationalist. While some of what he has said is racist, such as his comment that the people coming over the US border from Mexico were “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” but overall, a lot of what Trump says and does indicates a white nationalist platform more than anything else- remove illegal immigrants the country, a majority of whom are Latin American; ban Muslims regardless of nationality from the entering the United States; ban refugees from entering the United States. Those are policies that would ‘protect’ the white majority in America.
But why is it so bad to mislabel Trump as a ‘Nazi’? Well, a while back I wrote a piece about how Nazis, among other groups of people, had been turned into a trope through overuse within popular culture. Throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, it was ‘gay’ that was used as the throwaway insult but beneath that, Nazi has also been that insult we always keep in our arsenal to describe something we think it overly oppressive or tyrannical. Continual labelling of things as being like the Nazis or being like Nazi Germany trivalises the Nazis because you would be hard-pressed to find something truly worthy of being compared to a political and military regime that systematically murder six million civilians.
Trump is a horrible human being with some truly terrible ideas about what to do to America if he wins the Presidency but he is not a Nazi. You will not find proof that he is the member of any Nazi, or neo-fascist organisation and there are better, more effective ways to show what sort of man Trump is than labelling himself as something he is not.