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Jul 23

Trump, Republicans and Fascism

In Brief — The author explores whether Donald Trump and the Republican Party are fascistic or merely opportunistically partisan. [Written in April 2017.]

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If It Looks Like a Duck…

There’s an old saying that if it looks like a duck, has feathers like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is probably a duck. Using this reasoning, we’ll see if Donald Trump and the Republican Party are the fascists they seem to be.

Some overly-cautious people who fear being wrong believe that that in order to be a fascist, it’s necessary to be a Nazi like Hitler, to be Mussolini. To put that to rest, let’s look at the dictionary definition of fascism.

According to the dictionary, fascism (lower case “f”) is generally defined as a right-wing organization that is authoritarian, anti-liberal, nationalistic and militaristic. A fascist is an individual who holds these beliefs.

Breaking that down, right-wing means roughly conservative, reactionary, nationalistic, traditional and opposed to socialism in all its forms. Examples of some forms of socialism include public schools and trade unions.

Authoritarian refers to a person who is submissive to someone in authority, who believes in adhering to tradition, is hostile to those who don’t adhere to social norms (e.g., LBGT), and advocates coercive measures to achieve conformity.

Anti-liberal means one who is opposed to new ideas and has no respect for opinions other than his/her own.

Nationalistic can best be defined as belief in the superiority of one’s own country. “America First.” “America is great.”

Militaristic essentially means a policy of aggressive military size, preparedness and involvement.

Put all these definitions together and you have fascism.

Is Donald Trump a Fascist? —

Right-wing — Taking the elements described above, Trump is described by virtually every source as being right-wing. He espouses right-wing positions, appoints right-wing spokespersons to power positions in his government, and embraces right-wing ideologues.

Authoritarian — Out of his own mouth, Trump’s speeches indicate he is an authoritarian. Not just what he says but everything he does screams authoritarianism. He embraces dictatorial national leaders like Putin in Russia, Erdogan from Turkey and al-Sisi from Egypt.

Anti-liberal — Even a cursory look at the liberal view of accepting new ideas and respecting views other than one’s own, shows that Trump fails again. For example, on health care, Trump, aided by the Republican Party, has done and is doing his utmost to destroy Obamacare (is that also racist?). On consumer protection, he has bent over backwards to gut the laws protecting the little guy from greedy financial exploiters. On climate change and the environment, he refuses to accept the idea that humanity must act now to protect all of us.

Nationalistic— Everything Trump says revolves around the greatness of America and its way of life, i.e., his warped view of what is great about America. Whether it’s a border wall to keep out those dark-skinned people he feels are undesirable, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, having the strongest military in the world and other steps, it’s about assuring that the citizens of America, particularly white citizens will keep America great.

Militaristic — Trump’s budget lavishes buckets of money on an already overstuffed, wasteful and omnipresent military at the same time as he and the Republicans slash funds for art, science and education. Trump’s inner circle is chockablock with present or former military officers, more than any other administration in history. If you think the U.S. military (including military-equipped police forces) already owns the country, wait until Trump’s actions really kick in. This monster is already swallowing the nation whole.

The True Republican Party —

Take a look at the actions of the Republican Party beyond its frightening glamorization-of-the-past party platform. The party refused for many months to give a confirmation hearing to President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, and promised to refuse any judge for at least four years if a Democrat should win. Partisanship rules.

A look at Republican-dominated states shows that women are being deprived of their right to control their own bodies, LBGT individuals are being deprived of their rights, specious reasons are being put forth to deprive people of the right to vote, people of color are discriminated against and much, much more. In short, the Republican Party is setting America back in a wide variety of ways. This is partisanship on steroids.

While it’s undeniably partisan, the question is: Are they fascists or merely partisan? Although they are unquestionably complicit in Trump’s harmful actions and appointments, they don’t yet qualify as fascists as is the case with Erdogan’s Turkey. The evidence proves that the Republicans are blindly and harmfully partisan, but not yet fascists. Tomorrow? Maybe.

Although the truth hurts, America has a fascist president — for the nonce —  put in office by voters who are predominantly fearful conscious or subconscious racists and homophobes. America also has a dominant party (also for the nonce), the Republicans, who are so partisan that the country is being noticeably set back. The combination is poisonous to the little “democracy” that remains. Concerned voters have a chance to take back America in 2018. Will it be too late? Will the voters restore a measure of sanity? Will they even care? Voting is the key!

The Weekly Sampler—

As a reminder, go to the Archives on the right side of the page and click on the month and year of that week’s featured Sampler. If you wish, go to the January 15, 2017, blog (“A Simple Reading Assignment”) for more thorough instructions.

If you want to read the entire piece, simply click on the box titled “Continue Reading.” When you want to read the next piece, simply swipe your cursor across the one you have been reading and you will find the next one. Do this every time you want to read the next piece.

Don’t miss the Comments and my replies. Even though the Sampler pieces are from the past, feel free to comment…or not.

Go to the Archives on the right side. Click on November 2015.

 

12 comments

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  1. Dave Meyers

    I would argue that Trump is an ‘accidental fascist’………
    I believe he ran for president to WIN, rather than to govern. I don’t think he’s smart enough to really govern. Nor do I think he had a real ideology before running, other than to prosper by any means. He’s an opportunist and he saw an opportunity. I doubt he thought he could win any more than the rest of us did….but he COULD get media attention and further notoriety, which he craves more than anything else, save the pursuit of money.
    He’s a scoundrel, a liar, a cheat, and lacks any moral conviction. The Republicans didn’t see him as viable, UNTIL he started kicking the butts of their first string team. His bombast, his stretching of the truth, and his ridiculous promises rang a bell with that portion of the population who believe they’ve been left behind, even though they take advantage of every government program offed while bashing the government at every opportunity. He somehow also inspired a large number of educated white voters who should have known better, but saw an opportunity themselves to have their conservative ideas adopted. The Republican Party is doing much the same…..they tolerate Trump because he’s useful to them right now. Trump, likewise, adopted Right-Wing ideals because it was useful in helping him WIN with the so called disenfranchised…..and WINNING is the only thing that matters to the pathetic waste of space that he is.
    BUT…..now he is discovering that it’s not so easy, this president stuff. He’s finding out that his insatiable desire to to put himself first doesn’t fly with those citizens that have half a brain. He’s trying to be a king rather than a president, and that won’t fly either. It seems that there are enough citizens in the country who believe in the system of government that has kept us going thus far and don’t want to see it corrupted, that he’s running up against a real resistance. And, as I suspected from the beginning, he will fail because thinking people and a fierce free press will see to it that he is exposed for the self-centered egotist that he is. It may take longer than I or others hoped, but he will fall and he will be demonized by history for his attempt to commandeer America for his own personnel gain. I would go a step further and say that this little adventure he undertook will ruin his brand. To be associated or to deal with the Trump name will be a ticket to criticism in the not too distant future.
    The only good thing about this whole ordeal that I can see, is than formerly apathetic citizens are waking up to the fact that government can be hijacked and that they need to be engaged…..myself included.

    1. Don Bay

      You’ve got Trump’s number. He’s in it for his ego and to increase his fortune. If this piece hits the target, you will get more of the same next week along with a guided tour through the steps Trump must take to extinguish Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation. I recommend Rachel Maddow on MSNBC to connect the dots and keep viewers informed of the dirty tricks of Trump, Putin and the other destroyers.

      As you point out, we must remember the butt-kissing Republican Party. They will do almost anything to see their regressive and racist agenda’s success, and to Hell with anybody else. They’re more dangerous than anybody realizes.

      Today’s Truthout has an article by George Monbiot on the Koch brothers and their mentor James Buchanan who will do anything to make the rich richer.. It’s right down the alley of Trump and the Republicans. Genuinely dangerous to America. Read it and see their nefarious agenda. To be informed is to be armed.

      1. Susan

        Ahhh, blogging about the rump🤡. I’ll read truthout when I get back from a 1 year olds birthday bash. Thanks for posting this and keep well and keep us informed👏👏👏

        1. Don Bay

          Thanks, Susan. I’ll do my best…at least to express my political views and anything else that interests me. By the way, the Monbiot article will scare the sock off you.

    2. Kathy

      A lot of the problem is that both parties have abandoned regular, working people. When people lose their homes, their jobs, and have no hope of regaining either or anything better, they fall prey to someone like Trump.

      Both parties have to wake up and realize that ordinary people have real grievances. When the only job you can get pays $10 an hour or less, when the same job you did 20 years ago pays less now than it did then, when you have no hope of retirement because you never made enough money to save for it, or if you did, stock market crashes wiped out your investments, when pensions no longer exist, when healthcare is a luxury only available to the well-off, there are real problems with the system. Here’s a link that explains the problem much better than I can: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/18/to-my-fellow-plutocrats-you-can-cure-trumpism-215347

      Bernie Sanders was the flip side of the Trump coin, only Bernie is actually sane and competent. But the Democrats were determined to run their chosen candidate, no matter how unpopular she was and how little she spoke to the concerns of ordinary voters. If the DNC had allowed Bernie to win the primaries fair and square, I truly believe we’d now have a President Sanders.

      I hope and pray that the Democrats will sweep into majorities in 2018 and end this depressing insanity, but they’re going to have to address the concerns of the little people and quit fighting culture wars and catering to the donor class.

      1. Don Bay

        You rightly excoriate both parties, but I would amend that by saying that the Democrats are better than the backward-looking and genuinely dangerous Republicans.

        As for Hillary who was shoved down the voters’ throats by the status quo Democratic elites, too many of the voters were rightfully scared of her and held their noses when they voted for her. As terrible as Hillary is, we now have to deal with Trump who is infinitely worse. Let’s not forget the Republicans.

        I share your hope that the Democrats will sweep the Republicans from the scene in 2018, but the 2018 election is over a year away. Trump may be gone (hope, hope!) by then, but the Republicans can do lots of damage in that year.

        1. Kathy

          And enough voters were scared enough of Hillary that they voted for Trump.

          Believe me, I do not forget the Republicans. In my opinion, they’ve turned into a cult, and are no longer a governing party. It’s all about ideology, and nothing about making government work in the real world. Their rabid obsession with repealing the ADA (“Obamacare”) regardless of the cost in human suffering and financial chaos in 1/6th of the American economy is a perfect example.

          As far as Trump being gone before the midterms? I’m pretty sure he could “stand in the middle 5th Avenue and shoot somebody” and the Republican Congress would only tut-tut and call it “disturbing.” This Congress won’t do anything to Trump, no matter what he does.

          So much for the Founder’s plan for separation of powers.

          1. Don Bay

            You hit the bull’s eye with your observations. With any luck we won’t have to deal with the 71-year-old child much longer, but the Republicans will still be there…probably Pence, too. The zombies are still out there striving to destroy what’s left. As we know, the 2018 election is still over a year away. Although the voters can send the villains home to lick their wounds and plot, the big question is…will the voters do this or just pull the lever and go home to their toys?

            The founding fathers must be spinning in their graves.

  2. Jim Newton

    Good discussion, well done by all. Thanks.

    1. Don Bay

      Thanks for the kind words. Seeing the destruction that’s taking place, I believe it’s well past time to stop pussy-footing around the issue: POTUS is a fascist in love with other fascists like Putin and Erdogan.

      As I told Kathy, it appears that we won’t have to deal with that fascist much longer. The problem is that the destruction will continue under the Republicans. The voters will decide that in 2018. Let’s hope that their memories are in working order.

  3. Donna Boe

    most of what I’d planned to say has already been very well said. Just a reminder though, that while Trump is terrible at governing, he is pretty good at winning – until the ACA. He declared himself a candidate for re-election shortly after the inauguration, so that he can now collect campaign contributions. He’s now using this money to target moderate Republicans in their primary races.!
    I am hopeful that this Russian connection – what is going on there anyway? – will be enough to bring him and his advisers down (Yes, I know we’ll have to deal with Pence) and that we can get back to a more sane way of governing, by both parties.

    1. Don Bay

      You managed to remind me of Trump’s 2020 campaign solicitations. The destruction by this tantrum-throwing child continues. Let’s hope it’s for naught and Americans have learned the lesson.

      Relative to the pending removal of this chancre on the American body politic, the mills of the gods may grind slow, but his removal seems inevitable. Next week’s blog piece is both a guided tour and a reminder. Let me know what you think.

      Readers are encouraged to check out Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. She is connecting the dots leading to Trump’s removal. That removal can’t happen soon enough for me, but unfortunately the destruction will continue. Republicans who are his handmaidens now will be quick to tell the voters that they never supported him even while they carry on their meanness. They need to be removed as well. Then we hope the healing will commence.

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