As a new presidential election cycle begins to heat up, we are starting to see an increase in usage of the term “Nazi” by the media and various other individuals to describe Republicans and/or conservatives. For example, on January 24, Joy Reid from MSNBC likened Donald Trump to the ultimate Nazi, Adolf Hitler, and compared the Nazi’s 1923 Beer Hall Putsch to the 2021 riot that took place on January 6 at the U.S. Capital building. On this same day (and as if on cue), Democratic strategist James Carville compared Trump to the one of Hitler’s closet lieutenants, Hermann Goering. See the pattern? To many of us this phenomena is not new, as we can recall that such labeling for Republicans and conservatives seems to reappear every time a presidential election is upon us.

But do the Nazi/Hitler labels make sense? To answer this question at least some minimal level understanding of historical facts and of Republicans and conservatives is required, which can be accomplished by comparing the particulars of the fascism of Nazi Germany (listed below) to the beliefs of Republicans and conservatives. From this simple exercise, it can thus be seen how, or in what way, the two groups might relate.

Centralized Autocratic Government
Few would question that the Nazis favored a single source of absolute power for government. Question: Are Republicans, particularly conservatives, in favor of centralized autocratic government, or are they instead thought of as defenders of concepts such as the separation of powers and federalism (i.e., state’s rights)?

Big Government
To the Nazis, government wasn’t just “big,” it was everything. Question: Are Republicans, particularly conservatives, in favor of bigger and bigger government and of more and more regulation(s), or are they known to promote small government and less regulation?

Subordination of the Individual to the State and Exalting the State Over the Individual
In Nazi Germany, the lone individual was of little importance, while its leaders operated above the citizenry and without limitation. Question: Are Republicans, particularly conservatives, identified as the Party/group that seeks to exalt the state over the individual and to subordinate individuals to the power of the state, or do they instead have a reputation as defenders of individual freedom?

Strict Obedience to Leaders
The Nazis were not known to tolerate (any) dissent. Question: Is it Republicans, particularly conservatives, who appear to demand strict obedience to their leadership, or from a historical perspective, do they instead seem to be relatively more tolerant and/or accepting of division within their ranks?

Emphasis on the Idea of the Inequality of Individuals and Races
Nazism in Germany is synonymous with a focus on race. Question: Is it Republicans, particularly conservatives, that seem to focus incessantly on race and promote the idea that some races/groups are “oppressors” while others are “oppressed,” or rather are they known for consistently adhering to the teaching that “all men are created equal”?

Calling out Undesireables
The Nazis had a unique outlook on the value of certain humans (to put it mildly). Question: Is it Republicans, particularly conservatives, who have historically identified certain groups as “deplorables”? Perhaps you may recall a statement that was made by a famous someone from several years back? Was that person a Republican or conservative?

Lack of Respect for Life
The Nazis implemented a program initiated by Hitler in 1939 that permitted the killing of the mentally ill, the physically disabled, and the elderly. Question: Is it Republicans that are known for having less respect for life, or are they instead, particularly conservatives, known to be in the Pro-life category?

Hostility Towards Jews
Hitler and Nazi Germany will always be remembered for the Holocaust and for de-humanizing the Jewish people (similar to how unborn/pre-born humans are de-humanized today). Question: Is it Republican politicians, and particularly conservatives, who have generally shown indifference and/or lack of respect towards Jews (to include citizens of Israel), or have they generally been consistently outspoken supporters and defenders of the Jewish community and/or Israel?

Hostility Towards Catholics
Many may be unaware that Nazi Germany also practiced hostility towards the church, particularly the Catholic Church (which was despite the fact that Hitler was raised Catholic). Question: Is it Republicans, particularly conservatives, who have recently waged a “silent” war on the Catholic Church using the instruments of government? Have you heard of the leak that exposed the targeting of Catholics by the FBI? Was this targeting done by a Republican administration?

Extreme Separation of Church and State
The Nazis wanted both the church and religion to be completely removed from the public sphere. Question: Is it Republicans, particularly conservatives, who argue vehemently for the extreme separation of church and state, or are they known to promote freedom “of” religion rather than freedom “from” religion?

Promotion of a secular ideology founded on modern science
The Nazis exalted the minds of (certain) men to the highest level, giving no credit to the eternal Creator. Question: Is it Republicans, particularly conservatives, who promote anti-religious secularism? Do Republicans typically speak in secular terms, or have they, particularly conservative Republicans, been known to speak of God, the Bible and religion?

Some may be surprised to learn that the term “Nazi” is short for “National Socialist” (which is short for “National Socialist German Workers’ Party”) meaning that Nazism, plain and simple, is a subset of socialism. Question: Is it Republicans, particularly conservatives, who have been identified as, aligned with, and supportive of socialists, or rather are the Republicans and conservatives well known to be against socialism, collectivism, and totalitarianism in all of its forms? Can you name any Republicans or conservatives who are socialists (other than those who were former-socialists, of which there happen to be quite a few)? Can you identify even just one? (Good luck in your search).

Loyalty and Devotion to One’s Country and the Military.
One of the characteristics that may be the most often focused on by those who use the term “Nazi” as a label is an intense love for one’s country and strong support for the military. Question: Are Republicans, particularly conservatives, known for having a strong devotion to their country and a high regard for the military?

Only one of the above characteristics appears to fit Republicans and/or conservatives (the last one). It is true that Republicans, and particularly conservatives, have been known to profess a strong sense of patriotism, and to favor a strong military (although not in the Nazi sense to acquire additional “living space,” but rather as a tool for defending freedom). But does this one single characteristic loosely applied to Republicans and conservatives make them “Nazis,” or in the case of an individual, a carbon copy of Hitler (or perhaps one of Hitler’s evil lieutenants as James Carville suggests)?

To a small influential group of partisan individuals, apparently it does.

Might there be a cure for those who are afflicted with the sickness of name-calling and disgraceful accusations?

While not a cure, I suggest that a good long look in the mirror couldn’t hurt.

Photo Credit- ABC News