From Josh Marshall at TPM:
You may think of Donald Trump as a crafty blowhard intuiting the darkest recesses of the American mood and riding that wave into ever-escalating racist incitement, militant derp and extremism. But this evening it occurred to me that it may not be that at all. ... You probably know about the notorious Milgram Experiment, conducted by the late Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram in 1961. In the experiment subjects were tested to see how far they would go in inflicting extreme pain - escalating electric shocks - on other test subjects simply because a figure in authority, the person running the experiment, told them to do so. So how far would the subjects go?
It turns out really, really far. Sometimes they'd keep inducing shocks with a chilling indifference. In other instances it would be clear that the test subject knew what he was doing was wrong. But instructed to continue, in almost every case, that's what they did. (The person on the other side of the glass wasn't really being shocked; they were pretending, but quite convincingly and often begging for mercy and expressing fear of death.)
And here we are, the experiment taken nationwide.
Intended or not, we have a grand national version of something very similar. How far will this go? Donald Trump started calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. Then he called for the rushed expulsion of over 10 million residents of the United States. This was followed by proposals to create a national registry or database of American Muslims. Late last month it was the continued invocation of a lurid racist fantasy of thousands of U.S. Muslims cheering the fall of the Twin Towers from across the river in North Jersey on 9/11 — in many countries something that might be charged as racist incitement to violence. And then today, we have the culmination — or perhaps better to say, since this can't possibly be the end of it, the next massive upping of the ante — which became inevitable in the wake of everything that preceded it: Donald Trump, frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, says Muslims as a religious class should be banned from entering the United States.
It reminds me of Nazi Germany, of the lead-up to the "final solution of the Jewish question" by the Nazis.
I'm serious. I'm very serious. The Nazis didn't start by killing six million Jews. That was just where they ended up.
Already, we have people supporting torture - Americans supporting torture! I still struggle to believe it. Already we have Americans proposing to end freedom of religion. Already, we have fear-mongering, exaggeration, and stereotyping.
This is fascism. What's next? Where will it end?