It Could Happen Here - It Almost Did!
This is an excerpt from the website thought.co explaining the rise of Hitler to dominate Germany under the Nazi Party and become a threat to the world.
I have edited this excerpt, replacing Hitler's name with Trump's and adjusting other references such as Germany to the United States as well as other editorial changes to show the parallels in any authoritarian attempt to take over our nation or any country. https://www.thoughtco.com/early-development-of-the-nazi-party-1221360
Early on, Trump already seemed to have become a fan of anti-Semitic beliefs, an admirer of the Nazi ideology, anti-democratic and anti-socialist thought – preferring an authoritarian government – and committed to a vision of US nationalism and isolation.
Trump eventually declared himself the 'Leader' of the GOP. He provided the energy – mainly via well-received, if not well-delivered, oratory by a seemingly mindless minority - which propelled the party along and bought in more members. Already the GOP was using a militia of volunteer street fighters to attack left-wing enemies, bolster their image, and control what was said at meetings. Trump realized the value of MAGA uniforms, imagery, and propaganda from his reading of Mein Kampf.
Trump took charge of a small part of the GOP in the beginning. He aimed to expand his power through growing subscriptions in his branch of the GOP. Social media sites were created/used to spread his bigoted word (Twitter, Facebook, and after being expelled from those, his personal news site); radical fringe groups like QAnon and The Proud Boys were recruited to his cause. Some paramilitary types were enlisted, designed to take the physical fight to any opposition, and battles were fought against socialist groups. Trump knew he needed allies and opened discussions with many right-wing organizations and politicians.
GOP politicians joined in reluctantly (until a few were able to flee). Support for Trump's version of conservatism was small at the start, and there was no mass uprising or military acquiescence, as is often the case in authoritarian takeovers. Reluctantly, he had to try to take over via the system.
An utter failure in business, and with little but mockery in the beginning as he ran for the GOP nomination, Trump had little chance of gaining broad support across the GOP. Still, Trump was an experienced huckster, and he managed to take control of his campaign and turn it into a grandstanding platform, aided by local and national GOP and racist groups like the KKK, who had their network.
Trump had no 'ideology' as we'd like to call it, no coherent intellectual picture, but instead offered a confusing mishmash of ideas he had acquired from elsewhere, which he melded together with a heavy dose of opportunism. None of his ideas were unique, and you can find their origins in the Nazi ideology he embraced. He could bring those ideas together and present them to people already familiar with rabid bigotry: a vast amount of them, the under-informed, of all classes, who knew the racist and sexist ideas in a different form, and Trump brought them all together and turned them into supporters.
Trump believed that white Americans were a master race. Due to a corrupted version of evolution, social Darwinism, and outright racism, they would have to fight their way to the domination they were naturally supposed to achieve. Because there would be a struggle for dominance, the white race should keep their bloodlines clear and not 'interbreed.'
Just as the whites were at the top of this absurd racial hierarchy, other peoples were considered at the bottom, including the African Americans, Latinos, followers of Islam, and the Jews. Discrimination was a critical part of Trump's rhetoric from the start, but the mentally and physically ill and anyone gay was considered equally offensive to white purity in his world. Trump's ideology has been described as terribly simple, even for racism.
The identification of Americans as being only white was intimately tied to US nationalism. The battle for racial dominance would also be a battle for the political supremacy of the US states. Crucial to this was approach was the destruction of socialism, and not just the restoration of conservative power, but the expansion of conservative control in government and through the courts, and the creation of a new GOP in the US.
Trump started a radical new approach: the Republican party could not stage a coup, so it must get elected into federal and local government, especially the courts, and change everything from there. This wasn't 'going legal' but pretending to do so while ruling the streets with lies, innuendo, and violence.
After losing the 2020 election, Trump, aided by many in the GOP, would execute a final option to orchestrate an attempted coup and nullify the election; he would lose that as well as the election. It never ceases to amaze how, when you encounter a zealot like Trump, they are so convinced of their righteousness and correctness that they believe that the end goal justifies any means and that everyone will see the truth in their fantasy.
Trump wanted to create a party that he had absolute control over and put him in charge of the US to reform it. There were elements in the party that opposed these aspects because they wanted power instead of Trump, and it took a full year before Trump managed to take control essentially. However, there remained criticism and opposition from within the GOP, but only a few brave Republicans had the political backbone to do that.
With Trump mostly in charge, the party with Mitch McConnell in the lead focused on making appointments to the courts from municipal to the Supreme Court. After stonewalling President Obama for eight years on nominations to the courts, once Trump was elected, the Senate, under McConnell, rubber-stamped virtually everything Trump wanted.
Trump became the all-powerful leader of the GOP. He provided the energy – mainly via unintelligible but well-received oratory by his adherents - which propelled the party and bought in more members. Already using rhetoric and the support of right-wing groups like the NRA and many fundamentalist Christian leaders to attack left-wing enemies and to bolster their image and control of what was said at meetings, they increased their power,
Trump was like the GOP Svengali. Trump realized the value of the MAGA imagery and simplistic oratory. Using propaganda ranging from attacks on the news media to wild claims of the dangers of immigration, he beat those drums incessantly as he created both fear and anger among his followers.
Trump was clearly in charge, but he aimed to expand his power even more by growing subscriptions to his ideology. His stock in trade was his relentless use of Twitter and other social media to defile anyone who opposed him. He used rhetoric to encourage his acolytes to take the physical fight against any opposition, and battles were fought against socialist groups. Thanks to Trump's threats against his rivals within the GOP, he silenced almost all his critics and had free reign over his realm.
Ultimately, Trump's attempts to establish himself as a president for life, or whatever he had and still has in mind, failed. He was ousted in the 2020 election, and after fomenting the insurrection of January 6, 2021, to de-legitimize our election process, he was subsequently banned from virtually every major social media platform. He was labeled incommunicado and remains such today, notwithstanding his website and feeble attempts to rally the troops at poorly planned and attended rallies.
But, in Trump's mind, like that of Hitler, he thinks he will rise from the ashes to not only retake power over the nation but undoubtedly to exact retribution against those he sees as traitors. One quality that has been unwavering in his loopy mind and diatribes has been getting even with people who question him in any way. That is also the brand of a tyrant.
As a nation, we cannot relax our guard against a tyrant and usurper who seems to channel the most dangerous dictator in modern history. We have only to look at the downfall of Germany under Hitler to see the possibilities of the resurrection of Trump.