Future historians may come to look back on the events of the past few days as one of the critical turning points in America's transition from a democracy to a dictatorship under the presidency of Donald Trump. In this transition, Trump's relentless assault on non-white immigrants in general, and Muslim immigrants in particular, may well turn out to have played a key, or even essential role, much as Hitler's attacks on the Jews enabled his rise to power in 1933.

First, on November 29, came the shocking news that was, (or should have been) a jolt to all people of decency and good will everywhere, regardless of religious affiliation or ethnic background, that Trump had retweeted several vile and horrific videos originally produced by an Islamophobic, allegedly proto-fascist woman in the UK, Jayda Fransen, who had herself been convicted of religiously aggravated harassment of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, to his more than 40 million Twitter followers.


Then on December 1, there was the news that Michael Flynn, who was briefly Trump's national security adviser and has served as one of his top campaign staffers, someone who also has a notorious history of anti-Muslim hate, as documented a year ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC):


had pleaded guilty to the felony of lying to the FBI in connection with Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation of possible obstruction of justice by Trump or his close associates in matters related to alleged connections with Russia.


And finally, in the early morning hours of Saturday, December 2, the Republican-controlled Senate, in the face of unanimous opposition from the Democratic minority, passed a tax bill which is, without the slightest question, an enormous transfer of wealth upward from ordinary Americans, millions of whom voted for Trump because of his populist campaign promises to improve their economic well-being and "drain the swamp" in Washington, to a small group of billionaires and other super-wealthy Republican campaign donors.


Is there a connection between these three events, and is there a parallel with another series of events which led to the Adolf Hitler's rise to power overthrowing democracy in Germany in 1933? See, Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Brennan Center for Justice blog (May 20, 2016):

How Big Business Bailed Out the Nazis


I will have more to say about this article in the second part of this comment.

Certainly, one would like to have the luxury of being able to ignore the resemblances to Hitler's takeover of power in 1933. Today's immigration advocates might also very likely wish that we could continue to look at immigration policy today in a vacuum, as merely a series of technical issues which can be understood and dealt with purely on their own terms.

But events are making it inescapably obvious that closing one's eyes and burying one's head in the sand against the larger context of Donald Trump's war on Muslim and other non-white immigrants from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as on less affluent and minority Americans; and trying to overlook his escalating attacks on America's constitutional system of limited government and separation of powers, is no longer realistic, or even possible, for anyone who cares about preserving America's immigration system - and our democracy - as we know them.

On February 6, only three weeks after Trump took over the White House as the result an election in which he was resoundingly defeated in the popular vote, the German Magazine Der Spiegel published an article predicting that Trump's presidency would turn out to be based on a "Faustian Bargain" with the devil of dictatorship. See:

Trump and Bannon Pursue a Vision of American Autocracy


The magazine wrote:

"...Trump and Bannon have together mounted an attack against the institutions of democracy...

[Trump] is governing by decree and ruling like an autocrat."

Significantly, the examples of autocracy that the article gave were related to immigration:

"Surrounded by his tiny circle of close advisors, [Trump] began hatching one presidential decree after another, including orders to build a wall along the border to Mexico and an entry ban for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries."

But the article also showed that Trump's autocratic tendencies affected his policies in general, not just immigration:

"The president said he 'absolutely 'feels' that torture 'works'...

And, in summary:

"There is a great deal at stake. His [Trump's] presidency raises questions about the resilience of American democracy and its institutions and over how far a man can go who will test the constitutional powers of the president. And whether America, the model of democracy, is susceptible to the new authoritarianism of the 21st century."

As mentioned above, this precient article was written at the very beginning of Trump's presidency, well before Trump raised questions about whether he was trying to obstruct justice by firing FBI director James Comey; before he attacked the media from the White House as "enemies of the people" and threatened to "revoke the license" of CNN for airing unfavorable stories about him; before he threatened the independence of the judiciary as president by attacking a "so-called judge" who ruled against his Muslim ban order and, though the DOJ, presenting an obviously bad faith defense of the ban which was designed to mislead the courts while, at the same time, claiming that his office gave him imperial or dictatorial powers over the admission of immigrants to the United States.

But the Republican party's Faustian Bargain with Donald Trump encompasses not only failing to oppose Trump's attacks on the foundations of our democracy, namely a free press and separation of powers under the constitution. It also includes going along with Trump's extreme white supremacist agenda, as also shown in his immigration policies as well as many other statements and actions as both candidate and president too numerous to list here in full.

The same German magazine Der Spiegel, in a second article published on August 19, six months into Trump's presidency and just after his failure ro condemn the killing of an anti-Nazi protester by right wing extremist thugs in Charlottesville, wrote, regarding Trump's refusal to condemn the alt-right, neo-Nazi violence which led to the death of an innocent woman:

"The most powerful man in the world shied away like a Nazi apologist from identifying the source of evil- and this in a country that once helped defeat Adolf Hitler."

The same article also stated:

"And it's not just garden variety racism that Trump sowed during his campaign and is harvesting now, but hatred for all minority groups.


This same article then also went on to accuse the Republican party of making a Faustian Bargain with Donakf Trump.

Again, the above was written before Trump reaffirmed and even intensified his hatred for minority groups by spreading Jayda Fransen's vicious hate videos attacking Muslims, one of the main immigrant minority groups that Trump is trying to bar from and expel from the United States.

But what does all of this have to do with the the outrageous tax cuts for its billionaire campaign donors which the Republican party has just rammed through the Senate in a party line vote, with only one principled Republican Senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, joining the unanimous Democrats in opposition?

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona has also sued the term Faustian Bargain to describe the Republican Party's relationship with Trump (see Part 2 of my comment, dated December 3) - even though he very arguably made his personal Faustian Bargain with his party by voting for the tax giveaway to the wealthy, which will also raise taxes on millions of middle class and less affluent Americans. As some are now warning, the huge tax cuts for billionaire Republican donors may also lead to cuts in medicare and social security which could, in the opinion of budget experts, prove devastating for many millions of Americans as well.

Many seniors and other Americans who voted for Trump may be forced to pay a heavy price for enabling his agenda of reducing non-white immigration in America.


I will continue my discussion of this Faustian Bargain, and how it resembles the one which German industrialists made with Hitler in the 1930's, in the second part of this comment to appear shortly.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law