“Send her back” is the new “lock her up.”
Hannah’s Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism has been on my mind recently, for obvious reasons, but Donald Trump’s shout-fest in Greenville, North Carolina, Wednesday night brought one passage back into sharp focus. Considering the intent of the Nazi regime as it consolidated power, Arendt wrote, “To know the ultimate aims of Hitler’s rule in Germany, it was much wiser to rely on his propaganda speeches and Mein Kampf than on the oratory of the Chancellor of the Third Reich.”
Spotting the real Trump isn’t tricky. It’s a matter of listening to the words he cares about, and not the scaffolding of speechwriting and consequent spin in which they’re contained. Soviet defector Victor Kravchenko wrote in his 1946 memoir, I Choose Freedom, “Behind the ostensible government was a real government,” and the real government of Donald Trump isn’t in the “he’s not a politician” excuses from allies or the bleatings of his cable surrogates—an idiot cadre of trout-pout blonde nonentities and pomaded men in shiny suits with tie knots the size of cantaloupes.