Recently, the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times have run a spate of pieces from prominent Republicans and conservatives who fear the Trump candidacy will destroy or disfigure the Republican Party. The one today, “Why I Will Never Vote for Trump,” is perhaps the most fearful.
Peter Wehner writes:
Mr. Trump is precisely the kind of man our system of government was designed to avoid, the type of leader our founders feared — a demagogic figure who does not view himself as part of our constitutional system but rather as an alternative to it.
Fortunately, based upon numbers, I do not think Wehner will have to not vote for Trump.
According to yahoo answers, there are approximately 55 million registered Republican. According to a recent New York Times poll, 36% of primary election Republican voters back Trump. Of those, 56% have made up their minds to definitely vote for him.
That means Trump has approximately 11 million true blue supporters. While that figure does not include Democrats, independents or the otherwise unaffiliated, it is a pretty small number. Needless to say, Trumps gets quite a lot of mileage from a relatively small group of true bluers.
But when Wehner writes about demagogic figures who see themselves as an alternative to our constitutional system, that gives me pause.
Trump’s movement has been compared to similar nativist, populist right wing movements in Europe. And, while historical parallels are always limited, it is not hard to look back to another nativist, populist right wing phenomenon — the electoral rise of the National Socialist party in Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
In 1928, the Party achieved just 12 seats (2.6% of the vote) in the Reichstag. After the July 1932 election, the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag. On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor. The constitutional Weimar Republic effectively came to an end.
Again, historical parallels are limited — but can give us pause.
[Note: I still subscribe to the print Times. Few better pleasures than dusting snow off its plastic bag on a winter morning daybreak. With coffee.]
UPDATE: A year later
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