A Harvard professor and Washington Post columnist who supports Hillary Clinton and wants to advise Republicans on how to choose their 2016 presidential candidate is comparing the rise of Donald Trump to that of Adolf Hitler and urging remaining Republican candidates to unite behind Marco Rubio.
“Like any number of us raised in the late 20th century, I have spent my life perplexed about exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany. Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I now understand. Leave aside whether a direct comparison of Trump to Hitler is accurate. That is not my point. My point rather is about how a demagogic opportunist can exploit a divided country,” Danielle Allen wrote in a new commentary in the Washington Post.
Harvard describes Allen, in an announcement of her appointment, as a “renowned political theorist” and cites her “expertise in the history of political thought, history of democracies, and Greek and Roman political history.”
She hails, too, from the University of Chicago, where Barack Obama taught before his campaign for the presidency.
The bottom line on her commentary is that the entire nation so desperately needs to stop Trump that Republicans, including other presidential candidates, should not only coalesce right now behind Rubio and push him forward to the nomination, but should all publicly break their pledge to ultimately support the Republican nominee if it is Trump.
Thousands of commenters on the Post website are having a field day with the column, one of them noting the obvious: Allen admits to supporting Clinton, so why would she be offering advice that actually would help the Republicans field a candidate who would be able to defeat Clinton?
Wrote the commenter, who like most of the nearly 4,000 contributing to the discussion was anonymous, “She is a Democrat who is willing to vote for a person who is immune from prosecution for her felonious behaviors, and she is telling Republicans who to vote for! Poor Marco Rubio! Who wants an endorsement like that? She is guaranteeing that many people will not consider supporting him now. One must assume that the reason she endorses him is because she thinks Hillary can beat him in the general election.”
The commenter added, “The Hitler business is ridiculous. Why does this person have any credibility at all?”
Allen encouraged journalists to simply shut down Trump’s comments, specifically instructing them to not be “Trump’s mouthpiece.”
“Perhaps we should just shut the lights out on offensiveness; turn off the mic when someone tries to shout down others; reestablish standards for what counts as a worthwhile contribution to the public debate,” she wrote.
Admitting that “will seem counter to journalistic norms,” she said it’s important that Trump “pay for his own ads when he wants to broadcast foul and incendiary ideas.”
Then Allen’s attack on Trump broadens.
“Trump is rising by taking advantage of a divided country. The truth is that the vast majority of voting Americans think that Trump is unacceptable as a presidential candidate, but we are split by strong partisan ideologies and cannot coordinate a solution to stop him. Similarly, a significant part of voting Republicans think that Trump is unacceptable, but they too, thus far, have been unable to coordinate a solution. Trump is exploiting the fact that we cannot unite across our ideological divides.”
Allen doesn’t address directly Trump’s large victories in the New Hampshire and South Carolina preliminaries.
Her advice is to coordinate “across party lines” against him, revealing what could be her worst fear.
“Republicans, you cannot count on the Democrats to stop Trump. I believe that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, and I intend to vote for her, but it is also the case that she is a candidate with significant weaknesses, as your party knows quite well. The result of a head-to-head contest between Clinton and Trump would be unpredictable. Trump has to be blocked in your primary.”
She called on John Kasich and Ben Carson to drop out and endorse Rubio, but added that Ted Cruz is still useful for drawing votes away from Trump.
She then warned Democrats their “leading candidate” is “too weak to count on as a firewall. She might be able to pull off a general election victory against Trump, but then again she might not.”
Many of the mostly anonymous commenters followed her instructions to the Republicans with blasts of their own, but targeting her.
One wrote that perhaps the elites at Harvard and other locations should pay attention to the voters.
“There is an answer both to and for Mr. Trump. If you can’t stand his politics, then for God’s sake, don’t vote for him. But the electorate is speaking pretty clearly about their preferences for Mr. Trump vis a vis the polite corruption of Jeb! for example. Amazingly, there are American citizens (if it’s PC to even use that phrase anymore) who are for things like national sovereignty, the rule of law, fair trade, regulation of the financial industry and a foreign policy that’s actually to call manifest enemies of the United States, enemies.”
Another commented on he increasingly dark legal cloud over Hillary Clinton regarding her use of a private email server while secretary of state for classified and top secret emails, which is illegal.
“What I would like to see is Clinton nominated, and at the acceptance speech the FBI show up and put handcuffs on her.”
Said yet another, “Like it or not, get used to saying President Trump.”
Another bashed Allen for her references to Hitler.
“I don’t know what you’re smoking, but come out of the den and smell the pure air of reason. So sad to see Harvard scholarship sink so low. When you live in fear of the real world, you can’t get a handle on it. That you could even compare Mr. Trump’s family and supporters to the jackbooted thugs of Nazi Germany is a disgrace. You need meds … badly.”
Said another, “It is articles like this that make Trump a more desirable candidate. The Marxist left is in full attack mode …”