Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been spouting increasingly fascist ideas for months, but in an interview published today by Yahoo he crossed what must be some kind of rubicon toward actual Nazism and not just the implication of it. When asked by Yahoo whether he'd track Muslims in the US by "registering [them] in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion," Trump didn't rule those obviously insane ideas out. "We're going to have to — we're going to have to look at a lot of things very closely," Trump told Yahoo. "We're going to have to look at the mosques. We're going to have to look very, very carefully." (This evening, Trump affirmed his position when asked a more direct question about a registry by NBC News.)
Fortunately, people have recognized this unapologetic racism for what it is. Jamil Smith at The New Republic, along with others who know about the events of the past century, have made the salient point that identifying Muslims according to their religion is like forcing Jews to wear yellow stars. Trump often refers to actions he would take as president as "unthinkable," which is actually a fair assessment of Trump's ideas — there is simply no way to reconcile his fascist inclinations with any meaningful version of freedom.
Some of Trump's dangerous ideas have already been put to use
Trump's ideas are dangerous and outrageous, but the even more troubling reality is that some of his ideas have already been put to use in the US. For more than a decade, Muslims and their places of worship have been the subject of draconian surveillance measures that have no basis in any suspicion of wrongdoing. In 2012, the AP and The Washington Post began to uncover an extensive surveillance program used by the NYPD to spy on Muslims in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The NYPD shut down that program, but the damage was done; subjects of the unwarranted surveillance came to fear the police and even regular people who might be police informants.
"We don't have time to be so politically correct in this country and we have much bigger problems," Trump told Yahoo. He's at least partially right. If given any real power, Donald Trump could be the biggest problem in US history.