The significant influence of white supremacists on the U.S. election

Trump could count on the strong support of white supremacists in his race for the White House.

America has become increasingly polarized in the last four years, as Donald Trump has been more determined than ever to build an important electoral base to win again in 2020.

Trump has used a divisive rhetoric since the beginning of his campaign for the 2016 election. He shocked the general public with his failure to condemn far-right movements during various tragic events that took place in America during his presidency.

“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said in 2017 after the murder of an anti-racist protester by a neo-Nazi during the white-supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.

More recently, during the first presidential debate against Joe Biden, Trump did not strongly condemn white supremacist groups even when Joe Biden mentioned the Proud Boys.

During the debate Trump called on the far-right extremists to “Stand back and stand by.”

Dr. Barbara Perry, Director of Ontario Tech University’s Centre of Hate, Bias and Extremism explained that people have interpreted this message as a call to arms for the far-right.

“He wasn’t talking just to the Proud Boys when he said ‘stand back and stand by,’ he was talking to the movement as a whole, that they should be ready to defend him should he lose and come to his aid,” she said.

During the 2020 election, Trump was aware of the support he had from the far-right, who have benefited from having a president who shares values with them.

“The far-right was looking for an anti-Obama,” said Dr. Perry. “They were ready for a Trump.”

His presidency made far-right movements grow not only in the United States but also across the border in Canada.

“It affected both sides of the border quite dramatically in terms of absolute growth in the number of [far-right] groups and in the number of people coming to these groups,” said Dr. Perry.

As soon as Trump asserted his desire for re-election, white supremacist movements supported him during his campaign and were especially active on social media.

Dr. Perry explained that the promotion of conspiracy ideologies by these groups on social media can influence some American voters. Movements like QAnon, greatly influenced by the pandemic, have therefore taken an important place in support of Trump’s re-election.

On social media, this promotion was also supported by the emergence of far-right Canadians under the name “Canadians for Trump.”

“In response to the Proud Boys incident at the debate, there were Canadian groups who were posting ‘we are also ready to come to your defence,’” said Dr. Perry.

“We are going to see some [far-right] mobilizations … whether Trump loses or wins,” she said. “They will be there locally, but I suspect there will be convoys to D.C. as well to defend him.”


Feature graphic by Taylor Reddam

Briefs News

World in Brief: Another win for Bernie Sanders, COVID-19 shuts down northern Italian cities, bees in California, fatal earthquake in Turkey.

Bernie Sanders won the Nevada caucus on Saturday Feb. 22, continuing his Democratic lead after the third primary contest. With strong support from the Latino voters in the Nevada caucus, Sanders finished with 47 per cent, reported The Guardian. Joe Biden took second place, at 24 per cent. Buttigieg was third, with 14 per cent. Elizabeth Warren was fourth, with 9 per cent. Next up for the democrats, the South Carolina race.

There have been two deaths in Italy as a result of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), with seventy-nine confirmed cases of the virus. A dozen towns in northern Italy have shut down as a result. The origin of the virus in Italy, has been linked to a man who hadn’t travelled to Wuhan. Those who died were a man and woman in their 70s, though it has not yet been confirmed whether the woman died from the virus or an underlying health problem. Towns affected in Italy have closed schools, businesses, restaurants and sporting events, reports The Associated Press.

A swarm of 40,000 bees shut down a California block, sending five people to the hospital, including three first responders last Thursday. Firefighters and police responded to a call for a single bee sting, soon realizing that an entire block had been covered with bees. The bees had stung seven people, two did not need hospital treatment. One firefighter had been stung 17 times. Firefighters and a professional beekeeper were able to safely remove the hive situated on the roof of a Hampton Inn. Some of the bees were killed, while others left the area, as reported by CNN.

Nine people were killed by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in eastern Turkey on Sunday morning. The earthquake also struck western Iran, injuring 75 people, with no reported fatalities. Turkish Health Minister, Fahrettin Koca, said that 37 people had been injured and nine are in critical condition. The earthquake also affected 43 villages in Turkey’s mountainous regions. Twenty-five ambulances, a helicopter and 13 emergency teams have been sent to aid the public. The Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) of Turkey has said 144 tents for families had been set up, reported The Associated Press.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Donald Trump: The Hitler of today?

We need to understand the past in order to not repeat the same mistakes today

While it might seem like a bit of a stretch to compare the orchestrator of a mass murder with a closed-minded demagogue, there is no question that a few similarities can be drawn between the ideas of both men.

While many people, especially here in Canada, think it’s comical Donald Trump is even considered to be a candidate for President of the United States, he has gotten as far as being the Republican nominee, and that’s saying something.

Not only that, but current projections estimate Trump and Clinton are currently tied in the polls, with each claiming 46 per cent of the popular vote, according to new data from the ABC News/Washington Post poll.  

Since these politics are taking place in a country other than my own and so I have no say in the results, I take it as an opportunity to really observe what is going on.

After watching the three presidential debates and reading many articles on Trump’s different speeches and ideas, I could not help myself from comparing him to an infamous dictator I read so much about in my youth—Adolf Hitler.

Throughout elementary and high school, there was something about World War II and the Holocaust that really intrigued me. I love history in general, but there was something about this specific historical event that always drew me in a little more than others—the bookshelf in my room with over 40 World War II history books demonstrates this.

It’s no surprise, then, that a decent portion of my readings discussed, or at least mentioned a man named Hitler. This led me to do more extensive research on this man so many people despised.

When Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany in the early 1930s, he promised to rescue Germany from economic and cultural disparity and restore the country to its full glory.

After the Germans were defeated in World War I, the country collapsed and, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the war was officially over.

The haunting similarities between the politics of Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler.
Photo courtesy of JFX-Gillis from Creative Commons.

Germany was forced to pay reparations, reduce its army and navy, surrender significant weapons, aircrafts and tanks, as well as part of its territory and its overseas colonies. The country and its people were humiliated and devastated.

This was the perfect scenario for a ‘saviour’ to rise up and promise the rebuilding and strengthening of the country and its people. Germans needed a leader to rescue them, and the well-spoken, passionate Adolf Hitler was more than willing to be that leader. Ring any bells?

This is where the toupee-wearing billionaire comes in.

At a time when terrorism plagues the United States and safety is a huge concern, Donald Trump comes to the rescue. With the widely popularized slogan “Make America Great Again,” Republican nominee Donald J. Trump promises to rebuild and strengthen the United States—and clearly this has appealed to many, considering his current position as the next possible President of the United States.

His platform is filled with propaganda, and Trump is promising to introduce a tax plan that would benefit the top 0.1 per cent, according to The Atlantic. He’s also promised to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, impose tariffs on goods made in China and, most frequently mentioned, defeat ISIS.

While Nazi Germany and today’s U.S. are definitely not the same, there is no doubt Trump is using fear tactics, such as stating that immigrants are the prime source of violence in America, according to the New York Times. These fear tactics are used to gain supporters and polarize the country, much like Hitler did. Some people are scared and, whether their fears are irrational or not, a large number of U.S. citizens are clearly happy to have someone like Trump speaking up for them.

Now if we look at Hitler and Trump’s scapegoating tactics, we can see some chilling similarities regarding a specific race and/or religion.

It is widely known and documented that Hitler used his hatred of Jewish people to his advantage during his time in power. The Jewish became a scapegoat and he blamed all of Germany’s problems on them. Yet, while the Holocaust was a heinous act of inhumanity, it did not start that way.

Hitler first started persecuting Jews by ostracizing them from the rest of society as soon as he came to power in 1933. Building upon centuries of anti-Semitism, the Nazis slowly passed a number of anti-Jewish decrees, which prevented Jews from going to public parks, cinemas, restaurants and even swimming pools. These restrictions increased until eventually the Jewish people were denied their basic rights, stripped of their citizenship and forced to wear a yellow Star of David, according to the British Library archives.

What’s eerie to me is the fact that Donald Trump publicly suggested that Muslim citizens should be logged in a database and required to carry special identification, according to The Guardian. Whether or not Trump’s motives behind this statement have to do with fighting ISIS and terrorism, I am quite certain that discriminating against an entire religion is not the right way to go about it.

Whether or not Trump is like Hitler is not the main reason for my writing this article. I believe it is important to look at and understand what has happened in the past, as a way of stopping the human race from repeating history. While some of Trump’s ideas might not seem so bad, it is also significant to understand that everything, no matter how bad, starts somewhere. This is all the more reason why we should not turn a blind eye at the beginning. Remember that.

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