Over the entirety of both his campaign and his presidency, President Trump has fielded accusations from the Left that he is a "Nazi." These accusations have only become louder, more common, and mainstream over the last couple of weeks since the terrible events that unfolded in Charlottesville and with President Trump's meager denunciation--if you could even call it that--of the participating white supremacists and Nazis.
However, this kind of rhetoric is both inaccurate and dangerous. For all that Trump is and for all that he has done and said, which, by my estimations, is a lot of bad things, he approaches neither the rhetoric nor heinousness of actions of an actual Nazi. Accusing him of being something he is not weakens the strength of our argument against him and diminishes the severity of the term.
Despite the veiled, dog-whistle racism Trump utilizes in many of his speeches and policies, from "bad hombres" to the Muslim-ban-that-isn't-technically-a-Muslim-ban to his denunciation of violence on "all sides" in Charlottesville, he has never gone nearly as far as to flat-out claim the supremacy of White people like himself over any other race or ethnicity.
There are more than enough things that the Left can accuse Donald Trump of being without falling prey to Godwin's Law and calling Trump what appears to have been just the first thing to pop into our collective minds: "Nazi."
This makes our argument sound weak and immature, as instead of levying legitimate, specific criticisms against Trump and his dangerous and damaging administration and policy proposals, we appear to be merely tossing a valueless insult. This distracts coverage from policy proposals and actions, such as halving legal immigration, curbing voting rights, and refusing to punish abusive police departments, that actually do prop up parts of the white supremacist agenda.
Beyond just distracting from the real issues, levying "Nazi" against someone like President Trump weakens the term. If not in absolute terms, then certainly in the perceptions of right-wingers across America. If we continue to use the term to describe a man who was elected President of the United States and enjoys the support of millions of Americans across the country, it could serve to undermine our use of the term against others who fit the definition more aptly.
By levying the term "Nazi" against a figure as prominent and important as President Trump, we endanger our abilities to engage in meaningful dialogue with people who might be on the edge of supporting vs. not supporting him and his agenda. We also feed into the ridiculous right-wing narrative that anything and everything conservative can elicit being called a racist or a Nazi. It feeds into conservative victimhood.
As dangerous as President Trump's rhetoric and agenda are to the American people, especially those marginalized amongst us, he is not a Nazi. If the Left hopes to have any chance at confronting those particularly egregious parts of President Trump's agenda, we must do so in terms that are less fear-mongering and divisive.