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Thursday, August 17, 2017

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Come on, what could possibly be wrong with getting tens of thousands of people to raise their right hands to declare allegiance to an authoritarian political personality?

Donald Trump is now taking questions on the newest practice at his campaign events, where he asks the audience to all raise their hands and make a pledge to go out and vote for him on primary day. The problem: Lots of people think this whole display looks just like one of the Nuremberg Rallies. (To be somewhat fair, The Donald specifically puts up his own hand in the manner of a person making an oath in court — while all the people the audience are just raising their arms straight into the air.)

“I wonder how you feel about that comparison,” asked Savannah Guthrie, “and whether it would make you want to perhaps not do it anymore, if people do feel that way?”

Trump’s response was both a profession of his innocence — and less than comforting in its deadpan delivery.

“Well I think it’s ridiculous. I mean, we’re having such a great time. Yesterday I had 20,000 people in Mississippi, I had tremendous crowds in Michigan,” Trump said, with apparently no sense of awareness.

“And sometimes we’ll do it for fun — and they’ll start screaming at me, ‘Do the swear-in! Do the swear-in!’ I mean, they’re having such a great time. They’re massive crowds. I get by far the biggest crowds, and we’re having a good time. Honestly, until this phone call I didn’t know it was a problem.”

As the questions continued, The Donald further explained: “If it’s offensive or if there’s anything wrong with it, I wouldn’t do it. But when I say, ‘Raise your hand,’ everybody raises their hand. They’re screaming to me to do it, ‘We want to do it!’ and we’re all having a lot of fun.”

However, we wish to offer an alternative comparison for the sight of Trump having his vast crowds awkwardly recite back a pledge of support for him: The scene in that great American classic Blazing Saddles, when the corrupt political boss Hedley Lamarr had his vast army of dimwitted Wild West criminals (which, yes, included a few anachronistic Nazis) pledge allegiance to him — and to the evil for which he stands!

“Now repeat after me: ‘I…'”

“I—”

“‘Your name…'”

“Your name—”

“Schmucks.”

Video via Today/NBC News.

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