The Nazis love Trump
In news that should surprise exactly nobody, on Tuesday The New York Times reported that Donald Trump is very, very popular among a certain segment of the German population. Specifically, German neo-Nazis. German neo-Nazis absolutely adore our weird-haired, buffoonish, racist leader. They're putting his face on shirts and flags. They're screaming their praises for him. They're declaring him their new savior.
So that's nice. Trump supporters can be relieved that while the majority of America may consider Trump a toxic and corrupt would-be leader, they can still rely on the support of Actual German Nazis.
The Trump appeal to Germany's neo-Nazi groups, a source of domestic terror in that nation as their far-right allies are in this one, is simple to understand. Trump is an avowed nationalist and nativist. He's brazenly racist. He's both a sponge for far-right conspiracy theories and an avid distributor of them. And he's a practicing fascist—leading an administration that has increasingly simply ignored federal laws, Congress, and the courts in service to a white nationalist agenda headed by a forever-incompetent Dear Leader figure. Trump is currently closer to the neo-Nazi ideal government than perhaps any other top nation, both nationalist and world-powerful.
Nobody in Germany is confused over what Donald Trump represents or what his intentions are. They understand him, and those he has staffed his administration with, perfectly fine. It is only the American press that cannot quite muster what to make of Trump's fascist rhetoric and "norm"-breaking dismantling of ethics and law alike.
Whether our American press is simply dumber than the German far-right, or too close-up to Trump to contextualize his moves, or is cowed, or simply wishes to keep collecting paychecks without being subjected to the targeted fury of Trump and his supporters for spelling it out, is unknown.
But it's the emergence of "QAnon" themes among Germany's violent far-right that's perhaps the most intriguing bit of the Times' reporting. The Times spoke to several experts who pointed out the widespread adoption of "Q" conspiracy theories among German neo-Nazis and far right. It is a "good fit with local conspiracy theories and fantasies popular on the [German] far right," says the Times.
Indeed, but it's more than that. QAnon's conspiracy theories are a recasting of past far-right and Nazi claims, in large part mimicking anti-Semitic propaganda from the last century. The Times points to current European "great replacement" theory, which claims that white Europe is being intentionally colonized to subvert white European identity and a mirror of the American far-right's conspiracy-peddling toward Central and South American immigrants, and "the belief that Germany is not a sovereign country but an incorporated company and occupied territory controlled by globalists."
The German far-right is definitionally batshit-insane, but in this nation, we've got Republican politicians eagerly going just as far—directly and publicly accusing a Jewish billionaire of being the secret financier of the emerging "replacement." We find the "occupied territory" nonsense in the far-right militia crowds (see: Bundy family).
As for QAnon's foundational claim that a secret underground group not only controls all nations, but does so through a secret program of murdering white children—that is literally a retelling of anti-Semitic "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" claims.
It's not that QAnon is a "good fit" with neo-Nazi conspiracy theories popular in both Germany and America. QAnon is a direct copy of long-held neo-Nazi claims. QAnon is a far-right, neo-Nazi, white nationalist and fascism-premised group. The most popular tropes of the anti-Semitic far right, of "globalists" secretly controlling all and preying on young white children in order to maintain their power, have simply been given a new coat of paint and hidden behind a layer of troll-like gibberish and obfuscation.
It's not a coincidence that it emerged exactly as white supremacist violence became a major domestic terror threat. It's not a coincidence that all of its supposed enemies are Democrats, racial justice groups, equality advocates, and non-conservatives in general and that its allies are Donald Trump, anyone associated with Donald Trump, and any actual pedophiles in proximity to Donald Trump.
I mean, c'mon. The group, which will likely turn out to be the product of a collection of young far-right shitposting nobodies, may be vague in its claims and predictions, but it is unambiguous about its enemies.
The recasting of Protocols claims into something that is not quite that, but a close enough clone that any devoted anti-Semite will pick up on them immediately, is likely responsible for the explosion of QAnon devotion among Republican heartland voters. Overt anti-Semitism and racism is still frowned upon, in all but the most grotesque of groups, but filter it through the "Q" kaleidoscope and it gains at least a bit of plausible deniability. It's not "the Jews" who control the world and drink the blood of children," but "globalists" who control the world and sexually abuse and murder children. In league with Democrats, and minority groups, and liberals, and anti-fascists, and anyone else Republican housewives on Facebook find disagreeable.
Tell them they're repeating Nazi-era nationalist propaganda and they'll get mad at you. This is different, they will say. The targets this time around are "globalists," and "globalists" could be anybody.
So yes, German neo-Nazi groups love Trump, and they love QAnon, and the American far-right loves Trump, and loves QAnon, and both groups enjoy the support of power-obsessed politicians willing to spread the claims with a just asking questions smirk. It's all the same movement. It's all the same resurgence of fascism, a far-right shudder at their own nations' steady transition into more diverse, less racist government. It is not likely to succeed, in Germany. In our own country, the outlook is more dicey.