“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future. Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and

eventually they will believe it. The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.”

–Adolf Hitler, 1922.

Hitler’s special skill in selling himself was his uncanny ability to intuit crowd mood. He understood that he had to reach past the nitty-gritty of desperate 1920s pocketbook issues to the German people’s sense of themselves. “The question of the recovery of the German people (from World War I) is not a question of economic recovery,” he wrote in an internal party memorandum. Regaining an “inner feeling” was the key, he explained, because only that could lead again to “national greatness.” Germans, not merely defeated but humiliated by the war’s aftermath, craved self-respect even more than bread, Hitler rightly sensed.

These thoughts are all too familiar. Some say, while Donald Trump is no killer, he shares Hitler’s goal of national greatness. Like Hitler, Trump has a preternatural sense of crowd mood and the voters’ inner needs, not just their material distress. They want, even more than badly needed jobs and security, a sense of their own value in an unmoored world.