For the sake of my mental well-being I have been avoiding getting too caught up in the latest adventures of the 45th President of the United States. What I have seen suggests that there is something fundamentally flawed about the Constitution and the legal system, in the sense that it never seems to have occurred to any of the lawmakers over the years that there could ever be anything like the current situation. The courts and the government appear to be powerless to control someone who sets out to be sufficiently bloody-minded; the whole edifice is in thrall to that badly-behaved boy who is prepared to set fire to the classroom, here and now, rather than admit that he hasn't done his homework. The scariest bit is that he derives a lot of strength from the rapt applause which greets all this foolishness.
It is not particularly astute (or original) to see parallels with German politics in the 1920s-30s. I have been reading (again) about the interwar period in Europe, and one thing that I was struck by (again) was the enormity of the change in public opinion in Germany over a short period. From being a rogue troublemaker, viewed primarily as a temporary nuisance, Hitler somehow became an unstoppable force. Against the odds? OK - we could debate this in the pub, but was it inevitable, after all? It seems to me that there must have been some key moments in his progress where Adolf might have fizzled out - disappeared from view. Unlucky breaks? Complacency? Propaganda? There must have been some identifiable points where he was lucky to get away with it.
In his own career since his failed attempt to burn down the Reichstag on Jan 6th, the aforementioned 45th President, a known student of Hitler's speeches, seems to exhibit no awareness of how what goes around comes around. If he succeeds in normalising all this talk of violence, leaving vaguely expressed threats online to be fulfilled by the more stupid of his followers, I would have thought it might just occur to him that someone from the other side might, in turn, decide that the world would be a safer, better place without him. If I were in his position, making all those public campaigning appearances (in the fabulously glamorous school gymnasiums of the marginal States), I would certainly be a bit nervous.