One of the members of the press pool covering the recent Donald Trump rally in Great Falls wrote the following:
"The hall was packed to capacity by the time he arrived, accompanied by fanfares and banner-waving. The atmosphere bore little resemblance to a conventional political meeting. His speech was repeatedly interrupted by storms of applause. There was nothing new in the speech. As always, the appeal was solely to the emotions. The crowd went delirious. Critical observers could remain uncomprehending at the melange of half-truths, distortions, over-simplifications, and vague promises. But the people jammed into the arena had not turned up to listen to an intellectual discourse. They had heard what they had come to hear."
OK, I lied. The above description was Ian Kershaw's account of a November 1928 rally in Berlin. The featured speaker? Adolf Hitler.
The overwhelming allure of the demagogue to mindless followers is timeless and universal. It is truly amazing how fast the Republican Party has morphed into a personality cult. That party is in control of all three branches of government as the president turns his back on our longtime friends and allies, and embraces the world's most ruthless tyrants. Sometimes I fear that the republic is on life support.