FASCISM UPDATE

Remember a couple weeks ago when I wrote that the Trump campaign is basically the modern American manifestation of fascism, and then immediately after that it got even more fascist? Such as when he proposed putting religious buildings under surveillance, tracking and monitoring Muslim US citizens, and, today, barring any Muslim from entering the U.S. (a move wildly applauded by well known white supremacists)? It wasn't exactly a brilliant or complex insight, but for some reason as soon as people began to point out the striking similarities to fascism someone in the Trump campaign decided that it was time to abandon any pretense to the contrary and go Fascism to 11.

The Huffington Post, although not exactly a formidable name in journalism these days, is right to cease immediately all coverage of his campaign. Other news organizations with an ounce of integrity should do the same. Silly time is over. This is no longer amusing. My guess is that the TV news networks can't quit him even if they want to, addicted as they are to the attention-seeking soundbites he generates daily.

Sinclair Lewis is regularly quoted for his observation that, "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a Bible." He was close. The flag is there, but in place of the Bible it's holding a gun.

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51 Responses to “FASCISM UPDATE”

  1. Anon Says:

    Er…

    The HuffPo link says they are still covering him.

    The only difference is that now they are going to report accurately, or something?

    Not sure.

    If anything, I think A-Huff's sudden declaration of journalistic integrity just goes to show how utterly spineless and amoral the American media really are. They should have been presenting (in A-Huff's words) the "unvarnished" truth about Trump all along.

    Forget asking "When did you quit beating your wife?" A-Huff has done the equivalent of saying, "I'm proud to declare that, starting today, I will not beat my wife anymore."

    What, you want a fucking medal?

  2. el mago Says:

    Responsible (non) reporting? We love our theater. Marching to the gallows.

  3. Anubis Bard Says:

    The Bible is right there of course. Why do you think this is about Muslims and jihad? Holy War is the perfect excuse to mix guns, Christian zealotry, and a psychosis of post-Enlightenment de-civilization.

  4. Xynzee Says:

    Is the man trolling or something?
    It's almost as if he wants people to start calling him on his BS—and in the process call BS on the whole sentiment—so he keeps getting more and more crazy.

    But that would be putting too much faith in humanity.

  5. Mo Says:

    Trump isn't the problem. He's just the white head of the abscess.

    The problem is the percentage of our population that imagines he speaks for them.

  6. ConcernedCitizen Says:

    No, the real problem is the media, which that article acknowledges. It claimed the media used to have some kind of journalistic ethos which politicians wouldn't transgress, but then admitted Trump violated the media's "rules" (proving they didn't really exist).

    As Ed has mentioned, Trump is a reality TV troll. For that, he's been able to recognize the media for what they are—corporate ratings hounds—and exploited them. As far as I'm concerned, he's exactly what this country deserves.

  7. M. Clark Says:

    Please comment on the Allegheny Technologies Inc. lockout. Thanks.

  8. moderateindy Says:

    Other than the uber nationalism, and the silly focus on the "enemy within, and abroad" scapegoating, what other basic tenets of Trumps ideolgy are particularly fascist?
    O.K. pretty much all of them, from the rampant sexism, to the obsession with national security, to the protection of corporate power, Trump's talking points share a lot in common with facism. But I would opine that, in fact, his ideas are actually less facists then the other GOP candidates. He isn't nearly as inclined to mix gov't and theology. He actually rails a bit about cronyism, when he talks about our politicians being bought, and sold. He isn't particularly anti-intellectual as he puts himself up as the smartest guy in the room. I can't say he's obsessed with crime and punishment.
    Most of these things are much more the hallmarks of the rest of the Republican field.
    Of course, obstentially none of them believe in the absolute power of the state, unless of course they agree with the state on things like abortion and such.
    IMO Trump has fewer facist tendencies than most of the modern Republican mainstream.
    Plus, I'm not particularly a fan of slinging the fascism term around as very few people have any idea what facism actually is. They simply connect it to Hitler, or a tyrannical leader, and know about as much about it as they know about socialism.

  9. Dave Dell Says:

    I still maintain that Trump is bored and is in this for his own amusement.

  10. Ahab Says:

    I desperately wanted to believe that Trump was just pandering to bigoted voters with those comments. Unfortunately, his comments are dangerous. We need to take Trump at his word and understand him as a bigot and a fascist.

    Folks, if you haven't read "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis, now is a good time to do so.

  11. doug Says:

    The question for me right now is: Will he take over the R party? The party has been helpful in creating this hate mess for a while. Now the chickens have come home to roost. I read about him forming a 3rd party run. I seriously wonder if he will have to leave the party. He may not. War is just a shot away….

  12. justacanadiandude Says:

    @moderateindy

    Wouldn't calling yourself systematically "the smartest man in the room" make you an anti-intellectual by default ?

    Trump is basically saying that we don't need to listen to any scientist, economist, diplomat or military leaders because he has a better, simpler and more effective solution than any other that could be dreamed of by these pointy heads.

    Anti-intellectualism is certainly a a defining characteristic of the current crop of GOP legislators and presidential candidates. Trump just cranks it to 11.

  13. Chicagojon Says:

    I think Trump's tired of spending money and is trying to get himself 'kicked out' of the campaign but the joke's on him — if he starts wearing armbands, goosestepping, and saluting the crowds will still join him without fear and with their facebook real names proudly spouting his gospel.

  14. c u n d gulag Says:

    When Fascism comes to America, the media will cover it, because it'll be YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE!!!!
    (For ratings.
    For the country?
    Feh.
    Who cares?)

  15. c u n d gulag Says:

    Oh, btw:

    Here are the defining characteristics of Fascism:
    http://www.rense.com/general37/char.htm

    You tell me where, on these 14 points, we are not already there, or well on our way to being there?

    If you read them, then you'll "grok" that Trump is just the latest and boldest one to espouse Fascism.

    So, to me, Fascism has been defined (and decided) as it relates to America's systems.

    Now, we're just haggling over the price.

    And, Trump can trump most other GOP politicians price.

  16. well mostly Says:

    Old enough to remember Buchanan, Goldwater, even Wallace. This strain of ideas has been around a long time. Seems to come up now and then but never goes away. You can see the same in many other countries.
    I actually watched one of these Trump spectacles yesterday. Heard bits and pieces before, never a full dose.
    Rather amazing. Strip away the over-the-top personality stuff and the face of fascism is right there: they are threatening us, we have to do something hard and fast, we have no choice. It's the flag, the bible and the gun.

  17. jharp Says:

    "we don't need to listen to any scientist, economist, diplomat or military leaders because he(Trump) has a better, simpler and more effective solution than any other that could be dreamed of by these pointy heads."

    Have you never tuned in to the Rush Limbaugh show?

    Republicans have been following that call for decades now.

    This is just the first time it is being done so blatantly by someone running for office.

  18. Skipper Says:

    I think The Donald is providing a real service to the country.

    He is saying in plain speech and out in the open what other Republicans say in private or publicly inndog whistles, code words, and winks and nods.

    He is letting the cat out of the bag, and this is why the GOP is freaking out. Every one of them agrees with what he's saying.

  19. cekman Says:

    Ed, you get close to a question that's been bothering me lately: is comedy totally ineffective against Trump?

    As you say, any kind of media attention only helps him, because his strategy is to make a spectacle of himself; it draws in people who don't normally engage in politics, and it allows him to dominate while spending little money and not much more effort. His supporters tend to feel as if elites are sneering at them, so mocking Trump only draws them closer to him. It's impossible to satirize him because he's continuously topping himself. It's impossible to shame him because he's a megalomaniac.

    Comic takes on Trump can't help but be at least partly sympathetic, no matter what the intent. Trump is brazen, unrepentant, defies authority and breaks taboos: that makes him a comic hero. He's Bugs Bunny to Jeb Bush's Elmer Fudd.

    It starting to feel to me like making fun of Trump, or even just enjoying the terror he's thrown into the Republican establishment, is almost being complicit with him. Jon Stewart may have gotten out just in time after all.

  20. Isaac Says:

    At first I was convinced that Trump's run was a secret plan to make Jeb look desirable and responsible, like some kind of bar-hopping wingman. I imagine Jeb calling him up in the middle of the night, exclaiming “Don, Don! You're supposed to have dropped out by now!?! What are you doing?”

    Yes, America is so far right that Bernie Sanders would be considered conservative in most developed parts of Europe and Asia.

    To add to C U, here's another article about fascism by Umberto Eco that I found useful and frightening: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1995/06/22/ur-fascism/

  21. c u n d gulag Says:

    Issac,
    Thanks.
    I read that a long time ago, but forgot about it – though I LOVE his books.

    Time to reread him on this issue.

  22. quixote Says:

    @cekman. Yeah, I'm a bit boggled that you can't laugh at the man without helping him.

    Taking a leaf out of Rove's book, he should perhaps be sneered at for not sneering hard enough? Have any of his businesses (before they went bankrupt) hired and paid illegal workers? Has he ever, quite quietly, not been a complete bloviating asshole at anybody?

    If yes, maybe that could be used to get his followers disillusioned?

    Not optimistic, but maybe.

  23. Skipper Says:

    @ quixote RE: Trump's alleged business acumen, there was a great graphic the other day. It said that Forbes estimated his net worth at $2.9 billion. However, had he just taken the inheritance he got from his father, invested it in a mutual fund that tracked the S&P 500, and spent his time fingerpainting, he would now have $8 billion.

  24. Dave Dell Says:

    I have to admit that on a quick reading of CU Gulags's link that the U.S. has all these defining characteristics of Fascism albeit covered with a wink and a nod to a democratic/constitutional process.

    I cannot, however, find the line that separates these characteristics from an Oligarchy of the business interests or, for that matter, a strong man rule/dictatorship in many other countries.

  25. mothra Says:

    The only way to get rid of Trump is to ignore him. However, as you all have pointed out, the media can't quit Trump. Huffington Post will keep covering him, but with the change of pointing out that he is being a racist/misogynist/just plain nutjob each time, which every media outlet should also be doing, but isn't. NPR actually covered the Trumpet's latest nonsense as if it were an actual sane policy that deserved consideration.

    Know what flummoxes me, though? That Trump and his supporters are comparing his plan to the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII–as if that were a GOOD thing. WTF?

  26. GunstarGreen Says:

    Put some kind of auto-filter on the Trump campaign. Replacing text with text, or audio with text-to-speech generated audio, etc. Every time his campaign uses the word "Muslim", replace it with "Jew".

    See how long it takes Americans to figure out what just happened.

    The results will likely be depressing.

  27. Major Kong Says:

    Even if he doesn't get the nomination I can see him turning to Ted Cruz and saying:

    "Here, I moved that Overton Window for you."

  28. Leading Edge Boomer Says:

    Here we have seven of Umberto Eco's characteristics of fascism applied to Trump–the shoe fits very well:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/11/donald_trump_is_a_fascist_it_is_the_political_label_that_best_describes.html

  29. Adiaphora Says:

    Is it possible that Trump and his campaign might be a giant Door-In-The-Face sales pitch to make the rest of the GOP look downright tame in comparison? I wholeheartedly believe he's insane, but the cynic inside me thinks something cunning could be at play here.

  30. c u n d gulag Says:

    Dave Dell,
    Don't forget, that in Italy, it was the bankers'oligarchs who bankrolled Mussolini.

    And, as Hitler gained power, the bankers/oligarchs of Germany jumped aboard.

    Ditto, Franco – and the South and Central American Fascist dictators.

    In my opinion, Fascism is a symbiotic relationship between powerful business interests, and a charismatic and ruthless totalitarian leader, who support one another.
    All we Americans have lacked, is that charismatic and ruthless totalitarian leader, who openly supports, and is openly supported by powerful business interests.

    Trump may be that man.
    But, then, so might Cruz.
    All of the GOP Presidential candidates are, to one degree or the other, also possibilities.
    Though some may not be charismatic and/or ruthless enough.
    But, given a chance, and given enough support, I'm sure that conservatives would love for any of them to be totalitarian enough. As would they.

    We are at a very dangerous point in this country.
    I've been commenting about this for years on various liberal websites.
    And now, the pieces are all there, to be put in place.

    A Republican President, with a Republican Congress, and supported by Federal Courts and the SCOTUS, can change this country in a very short period of time.
    And man, do they WANT to!

    Authoritarian leaders, with Authoritarian followers, will not shrink from making this country into 'The Fascist Plutocratic Christian Theocratic United States of America.'

    Be afraid.

    But, more importantly, help GOTV!
    Get out the votes, while we still have them. And if you think the GOP will shy away from denying votes to you an me the same way they're doing to minorities around this country, you are deluded.

    Party Over People!
    PARTY OVER COUNTRY!!
    PARTY UBER ALLES!!!

  31. Bob Says:

    @moderateindy:
    "Plus, I'm not particularly a fan of slinging the fascism term around as very few people have any idea what facism actually is. They simply connect it to Hitler, or a tyrannical leader, and know about as much about it as they know about socialism."
    I know of this guy who wrote an entire book called "Liberal Fascism" – dude didn't know a fuckin' thing about fascism.

  32. just me Says:

    It's kinda been a thought of mine for a while that Hurricane Donald is just out to expose the crazies – like, what's the most insane thing he can bluster and still have people publicly support him. But I'm over it. Ed, you do remember what happened to Doremus, right? Got a nice cozy spot here in Canada all ready for ya, my friend.

  33. J. Dryden Says:

    The hurdle to a fascist takeover of the country–assuming a takeover would start from the presidency–is the winner-take-all nature of that election. The parliamentary system is much better, history has shown, for producing opportunities for otherwise minority parties (Nazis) to achieve preeminence. As it stands, there no room in America's two-party system for a Hitler to assemble a coalition to form a substantial enough base of power.

    Unless of course, one were to, I don't know, gradually transform one of the two parties into sub rosa fascism. Then…well…

  34. Mayya Says:

    @Mothra
    Yep. Yesterday was when I decided I was Done With NPR. Cancelling my drop-in-the-bucket monthly contribution as well.

  35. Hazy Davy Says:

    Here's my take on the Donald and his outlandish statements:

    1) He's an egomaniac. To him, there's no such thing as bad press. HuffPo isn't much of a loss. He's still getting plenty of coverage.

    2) He isn't interested in getting elected. I'm serious.

    3) He does not want a Democrat to get elected. Rubio and Cruz are the only two GOP candidates still running to get elected. And they both have said outlandish things. He makes them more palatable to traditional GOP voters, so they don't leave they party. "Well, at least Marco and Ted aren't as bonkers as the Donald," they'll say. And it enables them to hold on to "Hillary is horrible".

    He will not even be on the ballot by the general election. Whether he drops out by choice or by will of the party, he will be gone.

    He'll have successfully made Rubio seem more moderate and sane.
    And he'll have ensured his future book/show/merchandise has had a months-long-infomercial. [Keep in mind that Palin still makes more money, annually, than you…]

  36. Anon Says:

    You know what?

    Back in the 90's I would tell people that the Catholic Church had horrible problems with pedophile priests, and was covering it up.

    And you know how people responded? They told me I was a "fucking moron." Until the day that story grew legs, and everybody acted surprised.

    Ever since the 2000's I've been telling people that the GOP and conservatism are crypto-fascist movements.

    And you know how people responded? They told me I was a "fucking moron." Not just the conservatives, mind you- the liberals told me that too. And you know what? Now it has become a common trope to say that a) Trump is a fascist, and b) he's just openly expressing what the GOP and its voters stood for all along. As if any of this were a surprise.

    You know what I've been saying lately? That the voices of moderate Muslims and ex-Muslims need to be heard.

    And you know how liberals generally respond? They tell me I'm a "fucking moron."

    I already had no truck with the fucking conservatives- but the fucking liberals are making me lose my faith in humanity.

    The secret to getting along with liberals is the same as the secret to getting along with conservatives. Just agree with them. Rehash things they've already heard a thousand times before.

    But don't introduce them to new ideas before it shows up in the National Review (for conservatives) or Mother Jones (for liberals,) or they'll call you a "fucking moron."

  37. c u n d gulag Says:

    Anon,
    I saw the same thing at the same time, and got the same response – but only from the cons.

    I totally agree about reaching out to the Muslims!
    So, what libs are calling you a f' moron?
    The library sites I go to, all agree about outreach!

  38. Skepticalist Says:

    Donald Trump is creating an adolescent form of antique politics. Corporate media loves it for now.The GOP convention will be quite a show and rather old fashioned-but noisy. Trump is going nowhere in the party itself.

    This nutso following reminds me a little of the days when one of the first things people talked about after work on the train was what did Jack Paar say this time?

  39. Major Kong Says:

    @Anon

    Here's my dilemma as a liberal.

    I don't particularly like the religion of Islam. Actually I don't like a lot of religions but that one does seem to have more "issues" than others. I've been to Saudi Arabia and can't think of much good to say about the place.

    I am, however, a rather big fan of freedom of religion. I believe it's one of the founding principles of our country and possibly its greatest.

    So please humor me when I get a little uneasy about singling out a certain religion for "special treatment".

    I also get uneasy when I'm told that I should be siding with conservatives on this one issue. I think the only problem conservatives have with Sharia law is that it's the wrong brand of theocracy.

  40. geoff Says:

    Ian Welsh, in his latest post, writes:

    "In the US we have the media openly calling Trump a fascist, and that hasn’t slowed him down a bit. (I’m anti-Trump, as it happens, lest anyone think I approve of him.) To be sure, they keep giving him massive amounts of oxygen, by reporting on everything he says, because he knows how to be newsworthy, but their ridicule has not slowed him down."

    I actually commented that from what I have read and seen he could not be more wrong. Looks to me like Trump's getting a giant free pass on his batshit craziness.

  41. theboat Says:

    I'm scared shitless. Look at the % of people who believe there was cheering in the streets post 9/11, who believe The President is a Muslim, who believe 9/11 was a Government plot, the Sandy Hook didn't happen, all the mass shootings are a Democratic plot to ramp up gun control, so they can take all the guns away from the ammo-sexual whackos, on and on and on….
    It feels like my Country has been hi-jacked and we're all on the road to hell.

  42. ConcernedCitizen Says:

    @theboat

    Honest question: what IS the % (or rather %'s, because you mentioned several beliefs) of people that actually believe that stuff?

  43. Townsend Harris Says:

    "giant free pass on his batshit craziness"
    Time to go all in: who'd make a great running mate for The Donald?
    Trump Palin?
    Trump Devito?
    Trump Schwarzenegger?
    Trump Santorum?

  44. sluggo Says:

    @kong/anon

    I don't have an issue with either Christianity (I am one, just not very good at it) or Islam.

    I have a MAJOR issue with Religious Fundamentalism. Whatever the flavor of dogmatic fundamentalism, either Christian or Islam, in my opinion is heretical at minimum. When combined with apocalyptic beliefs as espoused by ISIS and the 'Left Behind ' crowd it becomes a very real threat to our way of life.

    I believe that Religious Fundamentalism, and all that it espouses is a greater threat than global warming.

  45. theboat Says:

    According to PPP, among Trump supporters in North Carolina:
    •67 percent support a national database of Muslims in the United States.
    •62 percent believe a bunch of Arab people cheered as the World Trade Center crashed to the ground on Sept. 11, 2001.

  46. Mo Says:

    Someone did some homework and figured this out for us:

    Well now we know, I guess

    So the term we should be using is "reactionary old racist rat bastards"?
    Doesn't have much snap…and it's been over-worked, for obvious reasons.

    Think I'll stick with "FASCISM LITE"

  47. KMTBERRY Says:

    People always blame the Media- as though Reporters have ANY say over what gets printed. Blame the Corporations that OWN all the Media. They are the ones who decide what gets covered and How. Not the reporters- not even the Editors.

    Add to that, FaceBook is essentially "The Media" NOW. FaceBook and Craig's List!

  48. Major Kong Says:

    @sluggo

    I agree. As I like to say: I'm a Christian, just not the fun kind.

  49. Khaled Says:

    I saw a photoshopped picture of a Trump hat saying "Make America White Again", and that is pretty much the crux of his campaign. To many people, America was "great" when minorities were crushed under the boot of redlining and Jim Crow, before the current "immigrants" were "corrupting" America, ignoring, of course, the SAME EXACT arguments were made against Catholics (Irish, Italians, etc.) being "subversives" trying to undermine American Values. A quick jaunt over to the labor history and the union movement (Pinkertons, anyone?) will show you that the upper classes have always wanted to keep the poor "in their place." Also remember that fueling that nativist element always relied on demonizing the immigrants and those of a different religion. Swap out "Muslim" or "Mexican" for "Catholic" or "Irish/Italian/East European" in some of those texts, and you could publish them today as the average Trump supporter.

    While Trump trumpets his own "accomplishments" in business, it is worth pointing out that not only was he born on third base (and thinks he hit a triple) but he also thinks that he is so successful because he is the smartest guy in the room, always the best. He is unable to separate the "political" statements from the "personal" statements because he, at his core, appears to be a racist bully who can't stand it that some black guy got to be president and made fun of him in public.

    The right-wing in this country has always danced with the dog-whistle tactics to get elected, using populist troupes to convince the nativists that their best interests are those of the very rich and the corporate class, the "masters of the universe". They are now seeing what happens when a true nativist candidate comes along, not even bothering to use the dog whistles to active his base. I actually have hope that it will not work, that Trump will not get the nomination, and the Democratic candidate will win, but if he does get the nomination, I will start the process of applying for Canadian citizenship because I don't trust the Republican political machine to not allow him to win.

  50. haikucrazytoo Says:

    Off topic, but central, perhaps. Just a personal reaction to the latest haps in bizarro land.

    I'm going south
    Where the sun still shines . . . maybe
    Winter is coming.

    Never mind. Won't hit send. Maybe.

  51. Sluggo Says:

    @ kong
    I used 'XMAS' at work last week, and two Left Behinders wanted to Spanish Inquistion me. So XIAN of them.