WASHINGTON D.C. — The American presidential campaign is one of the most divisive forces since the civil war. The main mandate and target of the republican party since Democrat Barack Obama became the first black president in its history, has been to block any programs or ideas he may bring forward. Then, at election time they can use the lame duck president argument against Hilary Clinton the democrats.
To this regard, the plan has worked like a charm, but while focusing on getting the Democrats out of the White House, the republicans traded common sense for an “anyone but Clinton” movement, which has produced the perfect environment for a larger-than-life candidate in Billionaire, Donald J. Trump, a vocal critic and high profile enemy of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and now, Hilary Clinton.
Although there have been signs of it in the past here in the western world, Trump has focused his arrogant, blustery style and corporate-friendly economic policies into something dangerously close to fascism.
So, what is fascism? According to a number of dictionaries, fascism is:
An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. synonyms: authoritarianism, totalitarianism, dictatorship, despotism, autocracy, Nazism, rightism, nationalism, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, jingoism (extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy), isolationism, neofascism, neo-Nazism.
Or: “a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.”
Or: “a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
The architect of fascism was Italian leader and recipient of Adolf Hitler’s envy and respect, Bonito Mussolini, described it this way.
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
Isaac Chotiner, a historian of fascism was recently asked by Robert Paxton, another leading authority on the history of fascism, “what do you make of Trump’s rise?”
His answer was shocking.
“First of all, there are the kinds of themes Trump uses,” he says.
‘The use of ethnic stereotypes and exploitation of fear of foreigners is directly out of a fascist’s recipe book.
’Making the country great again’ sounds exactly like the fascist movements. Concern about national decline, that was one of the most prominent emotional states evoked in fascist discourse, and Trump is using that full-blast, quite illegitimately, because the country isn’t in serious decline, but he’s able to persuade them that it is. That is a fascist stroke. An aggressive foreign policy to arrest the supposed decline. That’s another one. Then, there’s a second level, which is a level of style and technique. He even looks like Mussolini in the way he sticks his lower jaw out, and also the bluster, the skill at sensing the mood of the crowd, the skillful use of media.”
Trump arriving for a political speech, his camp arranged recently in an airplane hangar. With pomp and circumstance, he landed his plane at the field and taxied up to the hangar and got out to the cheers of his followers.
“That is exactly what they did in 1932 for Hitler’s first election victory,” says Chotiner. “The decisiveness of power, of authority, of modernity, and the capacity of Trump to enlist working-class voters against the left is exactly what Hitler and Mussolini were able to do. There are definitely echoes.”
The fear mongering is also an earmark.
Despite what Trump and the Republicans are trumpeting, this country has the strongest economy in the world and is still the strongest military power in the world.
Like the argument of Hitler and Mussolini, Trump is saying that the existing government is weak, and therefore, we must have a government that is appropriate to the grandeur of America. The portrayal of Obama as weak, which is astonishing considering the degree to which Obama has used military power.
“While I watched the primaries, I thought of the 1932 election in Germany,” says Chotiner, “with everyone kind of thinking, depending on their interests, that there were bigger threats than Hitler and not focusing on him until it was too late.”
Hilary has her own issues, and lots of them, that if anyone other than Trump had gotten the republican ticket, the republicans would have a much easier time getting back into the White House.