According to a recent Pew Research survey, the majority of people living in the United States of America view themselves as “losers.”

The Pew Research poll asked citizens of the US,

“On issues that matter to you in politics today, would you say your side has been winning or losing more?”

Catherine Rampell at “The Washington Post” reports,

Bizarrely, despite what you’ve heard about our everyone-gets-a-trophy-just-for-showing-up culture, only a quarter of respondents said they were winning. More than twice as many (64 percent) said they were losing.

Even demographic groups usually considered society’s winners saw themselves as political losers. For example, more than 60 percent of whites, upper-income Americans and men said they were losing in the political arena.

Not a single major demographic group saw itself as mostly victorious. You have to cut the data more finely to find factions more likely to see themselves as winning (such as highly educated Democrats ).

Rampell goes on to ponder what this can possible mean and offers a sobering answer saying,

we’ve all become convinced of our victimhood, of our very thorough trouncing by our enemies near and far, because that’s what political leaders and pundits keep telling us.

As evidence she cites Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump who last month told voters in Iowa,

“We’re getting beaten at every front. We’re losing everywhere!”

Rampell points out the compelling power of this message saying,

Being a victim to some nefarious other “side” grants moral righteousness, perhaps even moral impunity. It also absolves us of responsibility for our own inadequacies.

What Rampell fails to point out is how incredibly toxic this message is and how effectively it has been used in the past. The message is toxic because, the one who proclaims the victimization of his nation, is only a small step away from finding a guilty party to blame for the sorry state to which the victims have been reduced.

This strategy has been used to great and horrifying effect in the past.

In 1924, while in prison, Adolf Hitler wrote vol. 1 of Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in which he asked the question

“Was there any shady undertaking, any form of foulness, especially in cultural life, in which at least one Jew did not participate?”

He went on to answer his own question writing,

“On putting the probing knife carefully to that kind of abscess one immediately discovered, like a maggot in a putrescent body, a little Jew who was often blinded by the sudden light.”

Hitler had identified a problem. Germans following the First World War felt like losers. Hitler played constantly on this victim identity, emphasizing the ways her perceived Germany had been wronged in the aftermath of “The Great War”.

But Hitler did not stop there. He went on with devastating effect to identify the culprits in Germany’s humiliation. It was the Jews who were responsible for Germany’s downfall. Germans must lance the “abscess” of Judaism and eliminate the “maggot” in their midst.

This scenario explains why the headline for Catherine Rampell’s opinion piece is so chilling. When we know we are the victims and we know who the perpetrators are by whom we are being downtrodden, the only missing piece left to identify, is announced in the Washington Post headline to Rampell’s article:

Why Donald Trump may look like a savior

Hitler looked like a “savior” because he named the problem, identified the enemy, offered a solution to “the Jewish problem,” and himself as the one who could implement the soltuion . The lessons of history need to make any electorate cautious about falling again for such a toxic political brew.