Dem rep: Trump's "nationalism" comment last night reminded me of Hitler

Via the Free Beacon, apart from the military conquests and the systematic extermination of entire races, he has a point.

The bad news is that this boils down to saying that if you like Trump or at least support him on nationalist policies like strong borders and tariffs, you might be a Nazi in the making whether you realize it or not. Hillary’s “deplorables” comment was timid by comparison.

The good news is that Rep. Gregory Meeks is more restrained than some anti-Trumpers are willing to be:

Hitler was no Russian stooge, either! Don’t forget that one. Anyway, there’s the new fault line within the Resistance. On one side are the people who think Trump is like Hitler, on the other are those who think Trump compares unfavorably to Hitler.

The clip below is a left-wing version of the mistake that righties are accused of making whenever a new poll drops showing Democrats surprisingly warm to the idea of “socialism.” Conservatives will point to it as evidence that liberals are drifting further left, but liberals themselves will counter that conservatives have diluted the popular understanding of socialism so much that now virtually any Democratic policy that people like can be defended as an example of it. Are entitlements “socialist”? Because people love their entitlements, you know. Was ObamaCare “socialist,” despite its massive reliance on the private insurance industry? Because there are aspects of ObamaCare, starting with coverage of preexisting conditions, that people love. Define every liberal initiative as “socialism” and soon garden-variety liberals will embrace the term. Which might make them more sympathetic to old-fashioned honest-to-goodness socialism long-term.

By the same logic, if Trump’s agenda is dismissed as fascism — which is what Meeks is suggesting in reaching for Hitler analogies to explain his “nationalism” — you’re apt to see more fascist-curious voters in the years ahead. And some, like their “socialist” counterparts on the left, might find their curiosity piqued by more traditional, stronger-form versions of the ideology than their current leadership is willing to offer. Meeks, I assume, would say that’s his point in the clip below: It starts with “America First,” he notes, and then it turns darker. (Exactly the point righties make about Democratic initiatives and socialism.) But that’s what anti-nationalist David Frum is worried about when he watches Democrats cede legitimate concerns like border enforcement to Trump. I quoted him in this post but I’ll quote him again: “If liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders, then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals will not do.” Corollary: If liberals insist that only fascists will place Americans’ interests above others’, then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won’t. The important point is that the change here hasn’t come mainly from Trump, it’s come from the left and it’s come recently. Trump is just filling a vacuum that his opponents ceded to him, as Peter Beinart noted last year:

In 2005, a left-leaning blogger wrote, “Illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone.” In 2006, a liberal columnist wrote that “immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants” and that “the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear.” His conclusion: “We’ll need to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants.” That same year, a Democratic senator wrote, “When I see Mexican flags waved at pro-immigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.”

The blogger was Glenn Greenwald. The columnist was Paul Krugman. The senator was Barack Obama.

Today’s fascism is yesterday’s Democratic Party orthodoxy. (See also “opposition to gay marriage.”)

The punchline is that I doubt Trump could even define “nationalist” if you pressed him on it apart from a generic definition of patriotic love of country plus a propensity to maximize America’s advantage in foreign affairs — within limits. (He’s willing to fight a trade war with Canada, not an actual war, which is yet another semi-important point of distinction with Hitler.) Steve Bannon could give you a three-hour disquisition on the subject but Trump probably just prefers the term to “conservative.” He’s certainly not a dogmatic nationalism: This is a guy, remember, who offered Democrats an amnesty for 1.8 million DREAMers earlier this year in return for immigration concessions. Given all the things to dislike about Trump, how hard can it be for his enemies to find an historical analogy for his badness that doesn’t come off as complete hysterical overreaction? For fark’s sake.