Democracy, like any other form of government, like any other human endeavor, can fail, and, when democracy fails, the result can be devastating.
The worst example in modern history of democracy failing is Germany’s election of 1932, which installed the Nazi party as the largest party in the Reichstag. As a result, Adolf Hitler became Germany’s Chancellor, orchestrated the Second World War, and murdered six million Jews and many millions of others. This spectacular failure of democracy led to Germany’s destruction and the destruction of most of Europe.
The lesson to be learned from democracy’s failures is that we Americans cannot simply assume that our democracy will continue or that our nation will survive any given election. This year, we expect to be presented with a Republican presidential nominee who, like Hitler, preaches nativism, who, like Hitler, promises to make his nation “great” again, who, like Hitler, despises minorities, gays, the disabled, immigrants, who, like Hitler, promises to round up and relocate millions of “undesirables,” who, like Hitler, is a narcissist and boor.
Every vote has a consequence, and it can be for good or for evil. This election, more so than any other in my lifetime, there is a stark choice to be made against evil. Those who say they will vote for the presumptive Republic nominee despite his evil – because, for example, he will “shake things up” – won’t get to take that vote back when his policies cause riots in the streets, a second Great Depression, and a nuclear war. Those who vote for Adolf Trump will sadly get what they deserve if he wins, and it may be our last election for generations. Ask the Germans who voted for the Nazi party in 1932.