Trump at CPAC
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

One of the shocking things I’ve felt compelled to do since Donald Trump’s unexpected election to be the next president of the United States is to bone up on my history by reading Joseph Goebbels Wikipedia page. I did that last night, and I noted many disturbing parallels between Goebbels early career and the career of Trump’s new chief White House strategist Steve Bannon. Still, I was feeling vaguely guilty about even doing this research, as if I’m bordering on the paranoid and letting my fears get the better of me.

The problem is, I am hardly alone in thinking along these lines. I woke up this morning and the first article I read opened with the following graf.

PARIS—Never mind that the French cable television report on Stephen Bannon made him look like one of the winos living on grates in Paris, or that it compared Bannon, Donald Trump’s grizzled éminence grise and newly-named White House chief strategist, to Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief Josef Goebbels.

Former special assistant to the president David “Axis of Evil” Frum has been on a Twitter warpath warning about the real threat of fascism coming from this administration, but the appointment of Steven Bannon has sent him over the edge.

Co-Chair of John McCain’s Hispanic Advisory Council, Ana Navarro, isn’t shy about making these kinds of comparisons.

Former McCain campaign manager John Weaver who worked for John Kasich’s presidential campaign isn’t shy about it, either.

These are not knee-jerk liberal reactions, although you can find many example of normally even keel “establishment” Democrats comparing to Bannon to Goebbels and the Nazis.

Maybe a lot of people are overwrought since they weren’t emotionally or intellectually prepared to deal with a Trump presidency, but there really are a lot of commonalities between Bannon and Goebbels. Given how much Nazi graffiti is cropping up everywhere, there must be a lot of neo-Nazis (or whatever you want to call them) who are seeing the same parallels.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at