Democratic House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) compared the state of American democracy to Weimar Germany.
In an interview with Fox News Friday, Clyburn reacted to the violent attack on Paul Pelosi last week. Clyburn said that the country was following the path of the Weimar Republic in 1930s Germany, the fall of which led to the rise of an authoritarian leader, Adolf Hitler. Clyburn’s comments are the latest example of Democrats and media figures’ escalating, alarmist rhetoric about “threats to democracy” posed by Republicans.
“This is what happens in a country that follows what happened in Germany in the early 30s,” Clyburn told Fox News. “I said this in 2018, and caught a lot of hell from a lot of people for having said it. But it was true then, and it’s true now: this country is on track to repeat what happened in Germany when it was the greatest democracy going, when it elected a chancellor who then co-opted the media. This past president called the press the enemy of the people. That is a bunch of crap. … And that is what’s going on in this country.”
Clyburn defended rhetoric from President Joe Biden about the “threats to democracy” posed by so-called “MAGA Republicans,” claiming that while Republicans targeted a person, Biden targeted a philosophy. “He talked about a philosophy that is taking place in this country,” said Clyburn. “He didn’t attribute it to one person that anyone could go and target, bust in their window, and beat ’em in the head with a hammer. He never demonized any individual. He talked about a philosophy, and I would say the same thing.”
Clyburn then talked about the 2022 midterms, saying that voters have a right to vote in their own self-interest, but that must not be limited to inflation, but threats to democracy as well. “The question is, are we going to have a society that everyone can participate in? Or are we going to have an autocracy that’s run by one person?”
Clyburn is not the only prominent Democrat to compare Republicans, especially Trump-aligned or so-called “MAGA Republicans,” to Nazi Germany in recent weeks. Former Secretary of State and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton compared a Trump rally in Ohio to a Nazi rally because his supporters pointed in the air while Trump spoke.
“I remember as a young student, you know, trying to figure out how people get basically drawn in by Hitler,” Clinton said at the Texas Tribune festival in September. “How did that happen? I’d watch newsreels and I’d see this guy standing up there ranting and raving, and people shouting and raising their arms. I thought, ‘What’s happened to these people?’”
“You saw the rally in Ohio the other night,” Clinton continued. “Trump is there ranting and raving for more than an hour, and you have these rows of young men with their arms raised. I thought, ‘What is going on?’ So, there is a real pressure, and I think it is fair to say we’re in a struggle between democracy and autocracy.”
Democrats, led by Biden, have amped up their rhetoric about the alleged threat to American democracy posed by Republicans. Biden claimed Republicans were motivated by “semi-fascism” at a donor event in August, then doubled down on his rhetoric in his “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” speech on September 1. His rhetoric has been amplified by Democrats on the campaign trail in the final days before the 2022 midterms by campaign surrogates like former President Barack Obama, legacy media outlets, Democratic activists, and even Democratic candidates themselves.