So I don’t know much about Madison Cawthorn. Apparently he has not accomplished much beyond being elected to Congress in North Carolina. He seems to like dancing around on the boundaries of racism and white supremacy, and then jumping back while proclaiming innocence and bad faith of those criticizing him. Just Google it, there are too many instances to catalogue. In any case, in a recent appearance he attracted negative attention for this quote:
“[I]f our election systems continue to be rigged, and continue to be stolen, then it’s going to lead to one place, and it’s bloodshed.”
After which his spokesman immediately came out with the very predictable walk-back:
“In his comments, Congressman Cawthorn is clearly advocating for violence not to occur over election integrity questions.”
Uh, yeah sure, more provocation is what it was. But the structure of Cawthorn’s comment echoed a structure I’d heard long ago, from a speech by Hitler. It was his speech to the Reichstag on January 30, 1939. I looked it up, and there it was:
“if international finance Jewry inside and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, the result will be … the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.”
The parallels are quite clear. Anyone familiar with Hitler’s speeches would interpret Cawthorn’s quote as a “call out” to other fans. The formulation is exactly the same: Start with a big lie claiming some kind of persecution; make threats of what will inevitably happen if it doesn’t stop; and then since it’s a lie you can simply claim it is ongoing, or make it happen yourself. In Hitler’s case, he invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, starting World War II. In the case of the Republicans their big lie is voter fraud; then they pass voter suppression laws to deal with the fake problem, and if they lose any close election, they will claim fraud, just as they predicted. Or they will sow election chaos and claim the Democrats/liberals/minorities/antifa did it.
So yeah, I think he knew exactly what he was doing. He famously made a trip to the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s mountain hideaway, referring to him as Fuhrer. He tweeted a picture of neo-nazis and a swastika which was later deleted after protests. He knows the neighborhood. You can just see him smirking at his little hidden joke.
Needless to say, playing footsie with Hitler and his sympathizers, putting in a dog whistle to the Holocaust, is despicable. Given the guy’s history and M.O., I think his little quote echoing Hitler was absolutely by intention.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.