Opinion: Nazi Trump memes do the opposite of what they’re intended to do

Samantha Karam is a sophomore journalism major. Contact her at [email protected].

Samantha Karam

Even before his presidential candidacy, Donald Trump has made viewers uncomfortable with his comments: During an interview on The View in 2006, Trump made a comment about his daughter’s nice figure and went on to say, “I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps, I would be dating her.”

Though he has a supportive following, it’s impossible to ignore the fact Trump’s big mouth has led to a notoriety that’s hard to match. His embarrassing words give comedians and media outlets many opportunities to get creative with how they mock him. Publishers of one tabloid in particular didn’t hold back.

The Philadelphia Daily News published a controversial cover at the end of 2015. The cover showed Trump with his arm extended at a 45-degree angle. The photo was captioned, “The New Furor.”

Now, I know it’s a tabloid, but The Philadelphia Daily News might have been onto something.

The labeling of Trump as a modern-day Hitler has gained popularity. There are charts and cartoons floating all over the Internet supporting this idea. Dozens of articles have been written about the subject, but one in particular, stood out to me. Published in The New Yorker, it’s titled, “Trump: The Man, the Meme” by Ian Crouch.

In his article, Crouch talks about how common it is for Americans to compare politicians to Hitler online. Trump isn’t the only presidential candidate that has been “Hitlerized.” According to Crouch’s article, “Hillary Clinton has been reimagined as “Hitlary,”… Before that, it was George W. Bush who was Hitler.”

Crouch references Godwin’s Law, which states, according to The New Yorker article, “every argument will eventually devolve into one side referring to the other as Nazis. ”Apparently, it’s human nature for us to create Hitler comparisons and the Internet allows us to do so without any restrictions.”

I disagree with most of what Trump says. I can’t imagine how someone with his blatant rudeness could handle foreign policy in an effective and peaceful way. I hate how he talks about Muslims and immigrants. However, there’s a chance he could be our next president. These comparisons to Hitler, no matter how justified with charts, aren’t being taken as seriously as they should.

This analogy is more than a joke, but I don’t think people really understand what they say when they use it. First off, this overused comparison takes away from the gravity of what happened during the Holocaust and, ironically, Crouch said, Americans don’t see the potential threat Trump causes because the Hitler comparison is viewed as more of a joke than a legitimate possibility.  

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in September 2015, comedian Norm Macdonald said, “I was reading that in Germany and Hitler times, everybody was making fun of Hitler. Every cartoon was against Hitler, there were comedy troupes doing sketches about Hitler being an idiot with a stupid mustache and what a stupid little idiot he was. ”

Memes and GIFs depict Trump with a tiny moustache and swastikas, but what those memes don’t do is show how close Trump is to being the new face of our country. If he really is a modern-day Hitler, it’s going to take a lot more than stupid jokes to keep him out of power.

Samantha Karam is an opinion columnist for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].