Everyone should be alarmed and disturbed by the rise of Donald Trump. And now that some credible pundits and analysts are suggesting that Trump is going to be the Republican nominee and has a good chance at winning the presidency.
Donald Trump is not merely fascist in his beliefs; he is fascist in his tactics. Sadly, many “respectable” candidates espouse ideas which are similar to Trump’s, just toned down and with lip service paid to the Constitution. While weaning Americans off the sweet seductive liquor of authoritarianism is a Sisyphean task (and Americans have, since the beginning, yearned for a king), eliminating fascist tactics in American (or at the least, Republican) politics should not take very long or much effort. If the Republic is to endure, we must rid our politics of a fascist like Donald Trump and ensure that none like him ever rear their ugly heads again. That of course will require “eternal vigilance” but let us for the moment focus on exposing Trump for the fascist he is.
Donald Trump speaks of a government without restraint; he rarely if ever pays lip service to the Constitution and the limits that it places on government power—limits that would specifically prohibit much of what Trump intends to do as President.
He is advocating for a strong national leader. On an unrelated note, do you know what the definition of “fuhrer” is? one of his chief criticisms about his rivals–like Jeb Bush or (oddly) Hillary Clinton is that they are “weak people” and that America needs a strong leader. He is an authoritarian who has an almost unlimited view of the Presidency; he sees the President as the state and not merely one (theoretically) co-equal branch of it along with Congress and the Judiciary. While America has long been cultivating a cult of personality around the President, having an egotistical maniac like Trump in the Oval Office would be a Great Leap Forward towards outright despotism under a supreme leader.
He scapegoats outsiders and ‘other’ groups, making them out to be dire threats to the American Way, whether they be the Enemy Within (immigrants) or the Enemy at the Gates (ISIS/Muslims in general). Like Hitler did with the Jews and the Bolsheviks.
He is a rabid nationalist.
He believes the state should determine who receives (and, presumably, who doesn’t receive) medical care.
He is an authoritarian who has an almost unlimited view of the Presidency; he sees the President as the state and not merely one (theoretically) co-equal branch of it along with Congress and the Judiciary.
“you have to use strong measures or you’re going to see buildings coming down”–That combination of naked fear mongering and unabashed demand for greater government power speaks for itself.
He uses demagoguery. Rarely does he give specifics; instead he speaks in broad generalities in what he will do, and to back up his facts he simply says “I have sources” or “believe me”. His arguments don’t even attempt to use logic or reason; they are based almost exclusively on emotion. And one of his favorite emotions to exploit is fear.
He champions the merger of corporate and state power and sees nothing wrong with bending the power of the state for private gain.
He openly discusses the blatantly unconstitutional idea of “shutting down” mosques and spying on anyone who goes to a mosque, or otherwise placing the inner goings-on of mosques under the surveillance of an American Big Brother–a gross violation of civil liberties and religious freedom. He is also generally in favor of having an extensive surveillance regime placed on American citizens.
He is, as fascists go, a fairly mild one; I’ve never heard him explicitly say he would end democracy if elected nor have I heard him explicitly condemn freedom of speech. While he does argue for mass deportation, he certainly hasn’t advocated for death camps or the elimination of political dissidents. However, that does not diminish the threat that Mr. Trump poses.
In his ideas Trump is fascist-lite; more Mussolini, Franco, or Suharto than Hitler. In his tactics, he is like Hitler. But to bring about his downfall, we must treat him like Joe McCarthy. We must not merely turn against Trump’s ideas but against the idea of having a Trump.
Trump does use some of McCarthy’s patented bullying that plays well on TV, but ideologically Trump is more like Hitler, and he is using many of the same electoral tricks Hitler used. Scapegoating, economic babble, appeals to ignorance and prejudices, and a very crude manner of speaking. Though I am not a German speaker and I have to rely on what German speakers have told me, Hitler spoke a very low, “folksy” kind of German, much like how Trump speaks at a 3rd grade level (in English).
The world rejected fascism not because it disagreed with Hitler’s economic policies or his racist ideas; the world rejected fascism. The ideology itself was rejected as a way of governing (and in the offing, the world also, thankfully, rejected the racial ideology of Hitler).
I waited too long to publish this. I wrote it on November 30. Since then, the meme of “Donald Trump: Fascist” has taken root (thankfully). So while my two cents deposited here is destined to be a little noted addition to the collective condemnation of Trump for what he is (a fascist), I though this was still worth publishing because there is one thing which I have not seen.
I have a plea which needs to be taken up by Americans who treasure our political heritage of Constitutional, representative government, one which respects the rights of its citizens. The idea of Trump gaining the Oval Office is troublesome, but I am not afraid that Trump will achieve this. I am worried, however, that someone very much like Trump will become President.
The American electorate must make clear that Trump himself is not fit to rule, nor is anyone like Trump—regardless of party—fit to rule.