In 1935, Novelist Sinclair Lewis wrote a prophetic novel, “It Can’t Happen Here”, stating that what was happening in Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini and Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler, could happen in the United States. Lewis wrote that it would be “clothed in a flag and carrying a Bible!”
This was way before the horrors of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany reached their peaks over the next decade, but already enough evidence of the dangers of the manipulation of minds with emotional rhetoric dividing groups in a society, based upon race, ethnicity, religion, and national origins.
Lewis was warning about the potential dangers represented by Huey Long of Louisiana, who was assassinated months later in 1935, with the story of his assassination covered in my book “Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama” (Rowman Littlefield Publishers 2015, Paperback Edition 2017).
It could also be applied later, in the 1950s, to Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin; to third party Presidential candidate George Wallace of Alabama in 1968; and to President Donald Trump.
Only Trump, with his Fascist appeal, backed up by military, police and evangelical support, and rallies to appeal to those who are racist oriented, and also nativists, white supremacists at Charlottesville, antisemitic, Islamophobic, and misogynistic, is a clear and present danger, as he is the President of the United States.
He has stoked Fascist appeals as a manipulative method for the past five years since he announced his candidacy in 2015, and has set out to destroy all traditions and norms!
A lot of intelligent people, including those I know or knew, and also a lot of not so bright people who have emotional attachment to Donald Trump, since they are ignorant and share his horrific beliefs, have rallied around him.
And yet, many conservatives and Republicans who really care about our Constitution and rule of law, and the perpetuation of our democracy, are alarmed by Trump’s constant attack on “Fake Media”.
Trump calls everyone and everything which opposes his authoritarian bent as unAmerican. He waves the American flag as if he owns patriotism, when it is his critics who are truly patriotic, and care about human rights and freedom.
Donald Trump incites in a crazy manner on Twitter daily, and in the midst of the greatest crises since the Great Depression and World War II, he ignores and refuses to take responsibility for the Second Great Depression and the CoronaVirus Pandemic!
He stokes bloodshed and violence in attacking those who are promoting the need for racial healing, and encourages right wing hoodlums in the streets of Portland, Seattle, Kenosha and elsewhere,
This presents the danger of greater violence in the two months left to the Presidential Election of 2020, and the interim to the next inauguration, and his stated refusal to accept defeat if the election goes against him, an absolutely terrifying scenario!
It would seem that his opponents, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, face constant threats of assassination, and this author of a book on assassinations is truly alarmed that someone who is a Trumpite will attempt to do that!
If Trump is reelected, this nation will be threatened in its basic values in a way never having come to power with Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy, or George Wallace, despite these earlier threats in the 1930s, 1950s, and 1960s. It will be an authoritarian dictatorship without any control, a nightmare that will mirror the horrors of Fascist Italy and even Nazi Germany!
As Sinclair Lewis wrote in “It Can’t Happen Here”, it actually “Can Happen Here”!