Donald Trump won’t rule out mass surveillance, special IDs for Muslims

Alright, it’s time to go there. Donald Trump just earned himself a Hitler comparison.

In a lengthy interview with Yahoo News, Trump promised to deport Syrian refugees who are already in this country, doubled down on his promise to monitor mosques and, when pressed by Yahoo News as to what other drastic actions he would take, expressed an openness to warrantless and widespread surveillance on the general Muslim population:

Donald Trump's historical precedent, via Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump’s historical precedent, via Wikimedia Commons

“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said. “And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

Yahoo News asked Trump whether this level of tracking might require registering Muslims in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion. He wouldn’t rule it out.

Trump didn’t elaborate on whether the “form of special identification” could be, say, a yellow crescent that every Muslim would be required to sew into their clothing. But he may as well have. I’m a big proponent of reserving Hitler comparisons for the most extreme circumstances, but this is one of them. Donald Trump just pulled a policy proposal straight out of the Nuremberg Laws.

What’s more, unless he’s called on it, he’s going to say something worse tomorrow. Since the attacks in Paris, Trump has been inching further and further toward advocating for open fascism. First he said we should “seriously consider” closing mosques associated with extreme clerics. When that claim didn’t hurt him, he went a step further, saying we have “absolutely no choice” but to close them. He’s going to keep going back to the anti-Muslim bigotry well until the Republican base signals for him to stop. And they’ve shown no intention of doing so.

Yesterday, we heard an elected official say that Japanese internment wasn’t actually that bad of an idea. Now we have the frontrunner for the Republican nomination seriously considering a policy that was one of the defining characteristics of pre-war Nazi Germany. All over a contrived threat and an irrational bout of Islamophobia.

America needs to chill the hell out. This is going south fast.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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