Goebbels claimed they [mass rallies] were a persuasive substitute for an actual say in the government, and he even went so far as to argue that participation in rallies was a superior form of voting. Similarly, the various referenda, like rallies, were used as a form of public legitimacy-seeking. […] (T)hey provided a comfort blanket and a symbol of civic normality for those who craved one.
This is not far from the spectacle of Trump’s rallies. While voting participation is being suppressed and impact is being skewed by Republicans through widely known tactics, these rallies have been providing a megaphone to demagogues, a sense of identity to participants, and lending an air of legitimacy to a government controlled by minority Republicans, who maintain this control through voter suppression tactics referenced earlier.
The entire psychological enterprise relied on the idea of a willing co-partnership in illusion.
It’s hard to imagine being so honestly stupid and devoid of mental faculty that you’d believe in QAnon conspiracy theories or that the world is run by “lizard people”. There are hundreds of thousands of QAnon followers who manage to put their shirts on with all the buttons buttoned, shove food into the right opening in their faces, and presumably do other high functioning things like drive cars and manage projects. I believe this is possible because of willing suspension of disbelief, similar to what you do when you read fantasy books or watch science fiction. Willing co-partnership in illusion, for the sake of tribal belonging and perception of extreme self-benefit or who knows what.
…he [Hitler] was some kind of benevolent vox populi acting independently of the abuses, mediocrity, and corruption of the party lackeys; the notion that he was the loving patriarch, human and humane, caring deeply for the suffering of his tribe and adoring its children and families.
The idea that Trump or Republicans speak for the American people (vox populi) is the same kind of myth. They have attempted to corner the market on defining what’s patriotic. Have you noticed how (defacing) the American flag is now pretty much the exclusive domain of earnest Republican devotees? Nevermind that the Flag Etiquette explicitly prohibits such behavior, the “patriots” feel otherwise. The irony of this corruption is obviously lost on Republican supporters. Likewise the idea that somehow Trump cares about “the suffering of his tribe” is a myth perpetuated through rallies, imagery, and the right-wing propaganda machine (see this Gallup poll’s “Partisans' Views of Donald Trump's Character at the Start of His Presidency and Now” chart.
The idea of a nation wronged, the language of victimhood, framed by a narcissistic conception of all Germans as innately noble and, actually or latently, heroic.
This sort of victim narrative has been perpetuated by Republicans for years. War on Christmas, anyone? Granted, it’s not the “nation wronged”, but a certain demographic with political and economic power under “attack” is being made to feel this way. Plus, the entire idea American exceptionalism and “rugged individualism” echoes the quote’s sentiment about nobility and heroism of the “real” American.
In other words, he [Hitler] led a portion of the nation in a flight from reality.
If I didn’t put Hitler in square brackets, you might not know it wasn’t about Trump.
It was possible to be both a Nazi and an American movie buff.
This was a reference that Nazism did not exclude participation in other spheres of cultural life. It struck me as interesting because this seeming contradiction made it easier for Nazism to be widely accepted. You didn’t have to be a weird ascetic or reject worldly pleasures to be a Nazi. In a similar way, Trump supporters / QAnon believers do not appear fanatical - unlike, say, the Taliban. You can believe in the Democratic ring of pedophiles or that Hillary Clinton is really a reptilian - all while attending your favorite Sunday brunch after church. No cognitive dissonance there.
In Germany there was clearly a widespread preparedness to accept arguments based on even on marginal objectivity, but on illusion.
Three words: election fraud claims. Nuff said.