Jonathan Chait writes in NY Magazine, Donald Trump and Hitler’s Rise to Power. It's more history lesson than hyperbole and it's worth a full read. Here's a little of it:
To be perfectly clear, Trump is not Hitler or a Nazi. Trump’s racism is not of the genocidal variety, and he is committed neither to a program of Darwinian racial conquest nor the principled imposition of one-party rule. If President Trump does start a world war, it would probably be as a result of blundering rather than a long-term master plan. But the two figures do have certain traits in common relative to the political environments they inhabit."
Hindenburg and the German right viewed Hitler in strikingly similar terms to how Republican elites view Trump. Yes, they badly underestimated his fanaticism, which Hitler had downplayed in public. While they failed to anticipate that Hitler would launch a total war and industrial-scale genocide, they did consider him a buffoon. Alfred Hugenberg, leader of the German-Nationals, deemed the Nazis “little better than a rabble, with dangerously radical social and economic notions,” writes Turner. Hindenburg considered Hitler qualified to head the postal ministry at best. Hitler, in their eyes, was not a serious man, unfit to govern, a classless buffoon. His appeal, the German elite believed, came from his outsider status, which allowed him to posture against the political system and make extravagant promises to his followers that would never be tested against reality. What’s more, Hitler’s explicit contempt for democracy made even the authoritarian German right nervous about entrusting him with power.
All this is to say that German conservatives did not see Hitler as Hitler — they saw Hitler as Trump. And the reasons they devised to overcome their qualms and accept him as the head of the government would ring familiar to followers of the 2016 campaign. They believed the responsibility of governing would tame Hitler, and that his beliefs were amorphous and could be shaped by advisers once in office. They respected his populist appeal and believed it could serve their own ends. (Hugenberg, writes Turner, “recognized that [the Nazis] were far more successful than his party in mobilizing mass support and hoped to harness their movement to destroy the republic and establish a rightist authoritarian regime.”) Their myopic concern with specifics of their policy agenda overcame their general sense of unease. (One right-wing landowner was “hopeful of relief measures by a Hitler cabinet for the depressed agriculture of the east,” and thus concluded “the army and the forces of conservatism would suffice to prevent a one-party Nazi dictatorship.”) Think of the supply-siders supporting Trump in the hope he can enact major tax cuts, or the social conservatives enthused about his list of potential judges, and you’ll have a picture of the thought process.
Vox has a series of articles, What you learn from reading 12 of Donald Trump's books. The best of which is Donald Trump’s run for president is baffling — until you read The Art of the Deal. I read it shortly after college (getting it when joining the Book of the Month club) but don't remember little of it. This article was a good refresher.