When arguments break out online, someone will definitely make a connection to Hitler. “Godwin’s law” refers to this practically inviolable rule; it was coined in 1990 by Mike Godwin, an early internet enthusiast. While it is not explicitly stated in the law, it is often acknowledged that the side bringing up Hitler or the Nazis usually ends up losing the case.
This past weekend, the campaign of Joe Biden, the vice president, drew on Godwin’s rule in claiming that Trump, in his accusation that undocumented immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country,” had “parroted Adolf Hitler.”
Godwin, however, claims that this in no way indicates that Biden is losing the debate.
Godwin stated in an interview that Trump was inviting comparisons to Hitler. He also thinks Trump is trying to draw attention to the comparison.
While interviewing with the far-right website The National Pulse in November, Trump essentially repeated Hitler’s criticisms of Jews and used the same language, even going so far as to call his political opponents “vermin” at the same time.
“Maybe one of those remarks—the’vermin’ remark or the ‘poisoning the blood’ remark—would be coincidental,” Godwin remarked. “I just don’t believe it’s coincidental, but both of them pretty much make it clear that there’s something thematic going on.”
Some people find it awkward or silly to compare someone to Hitler or the Nazis, but it happens all the time, especially in internet debates. People may look askance when members of the public or their staff use the H-word. However, the Biden campaign has taken a very grave stance, and they are betting politically that people will not brush off the accusation as exaggeration.
Is the Biden campaign losing the Godwin’s law argument by comparing Trump to Hitler?
You’re not losing the argument simply because you bring up the Nazis; I never stated that. Verify your facts before bringing up the Holocaust or comparing someone to Hitler or the Nazis. But Biden’s (or anybody else’s) comparison of Trump comparing humans to vermin or bringing up the subject of blood poisoning to Hitler is completely acceptable.
Even while I’ve never considered myself an expert on Hitler or the Nazis, I’ve always made it a point to learn enough about the past to determine if a connection was reasonable. Furthermore, Hitler’s discourse is characterised by dehumanising language. A Hitler comparison is inevitable, and Trump is inviting it.
To be clear, do you agree that it is appropriate to say that Trump’s statements are reminiscent of Nazi doctrine or Hitler’s rhetoric?
Beyond that, I would go. To suggest that Trump is competent would be an understatement, in my opinion. I believe he intentionally selected that rhetoric. However, it’s true that there are some striking parallels. There is a dehumanising element in Hitler’s writings (which I would not advise anyone to read), but the speeches provide a much more compelling example.
Much of Hitler’s oratory is based on recordings, and these aren’t usually very comprehensible. Scholars attempting to reconstruct the audio of his speeches are what you can hear in compilation works. Therefore, it’s somewhat similar to going to see a stand-up comedian performing at peak performance. Hitler keeps saying the same things. On several occasions, he will state the same thing or quote the same lines.
Whatever else you may say about Trump, he has a knack for knowing exactly what lines to say to get the responses he desires. Having applause lines at rallies is important for producing high-quality media and videos. Plus, the media are more likely to use a certain line from his speech if he says it again. There you have it, straight from the playbook.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but you could say either the “vermin” comment or the “poisoning the blood” comment. However, it is evident from both of them that there is a theme at work, and I find it hard to think that is coincidental.
We need to know why you do it intentionally. My take is that Trump is appealing to a segment of his support that, for whatever reason, prefers this interpretation of the message. In addition to the personal satisfaction he derives from it, he also sees it as an essential means of rallying support for his reelection campaign.