The Platform

Donald Trump with two of his children in 2016. (Mark Reinstein/Shutterstock)

Throughout history, totalitarian governments have oppressed people. Regimes, originally established as small organizations, obtained power by influencing those who were blinded by ignorance. Dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin, have twisted the minds of their followers into believing false narratives, created to increase their power. False-hearted information fueled people’s innermost desires and showcased the abhorrent nature of humans. These dictators realized that by presenting the public with inaccurate information, they could persuade them to support not only their party but also their ideology.

Throughout the last 20 years, the Republican Party has been splintering into a faction that supports falsehoods and half-truths. Members that once held a passion for the rule of law have been possessed by the allure of power. Today, representatives within the party vilify one another for upholding the principles of democracy. As the 2020 presidential election drew to a close, the American people witnessed an inconceivable response from the incumbent president. A statement from former President Donald Trump described the election results as fraudulent. He stated, “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”

A few days later, on November 7, Trump released a statement announcing that the Trump campaign would launch a court case arguing that the results and administration of the election were unfair. In Donald J. Trump for President Inc. v. Hobbs, the Trump campaign attempted to prevent the official certification of election results until individual counties manually inspected alleged overvotes. Yet, before any of the ballots were inspected, the Trump campaign voluntarily dropped the lawsuit.

Still, a multitude of Republicans supported Trump’s baseless claims of a so-called “rigged election.” On January 6, 2021, 147 Republican lawmakers voted in opposition to certifying the election outcome. These Republicans included Senator Ted Cruz, Representatives John Carter, Pete Sessions, and Pat Fallon. As Republican Liz Cheney, who did not oppose the election outcome, stated, “The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.” As Cheney highlighted, the will and freedom of expression through voting is under threat from our own government.

This is portrayed by the remarks and actions of the former president. Government officials now attempt to generate fabricated narratives for power. Suppressing the right of the people to vote is a direct attack upon the principles that this nation was founded upon. It not only destabilizes democracy itself but also generates space for megalomaniac individuals to ascend and stay in power. The lust for power clouds a politician’s moral sense of judgment to promote the notions of democracy and the Constitution.

Humankind’s fixation with power is evident throughout the course of time itself. For centuries, autocrats have spread misinformation that seeps into the minds of the public, manufacturing support for power-crazed individuals. Donald Trump has used his supporters to undermine the rules of society and democracy. The former president persuaded not only his acolytes into believing the results of the 2020 presidential election were inaccurate but also members of Congress. One could say that this tactic was also used by the Nazis during the inter-war period within Germany.

Adolf Hitler emphasized that Jewish people were deemed unfit for the human race. The Nazis composed various posters and papers that emphasized the status of a pure-blooded Aryan race. This false information was not only purposely constructed to sway the minds of the German people but also to gather supporters for the party. In both instances, falsehoods were devised to ultimately obtain power. Before Germany was under the rule of a dictatorship, it was governed by the soul of the people. It was a democracy before it teetered and eventually collapsed into an authoritarian regime.

Could a totalitarian government prevail in a country where democracy laid the foundation for a government, for the people by the people? As history has shown, the answer lies as a possibility, though not an inevitable reality. It is up to the American people to determine the destiny and therefore the history of the United States of America. Hopefully, the majority of the American people will not be unobservant and unconcerned by assaults upon the liberty of the people.

Sierra Francese is a high school student in New Jersey. Her interests include world events, history and sociology.