Carl Bernstein: Donald Trump Is An American 'Neo-Fascist'

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Carl Bernstein joined CNN's Reliable Sources and was asked tried to explain the Trump phenomena by Brain Stelter, while also properly labeling what his brand of politics are. Bernstein didn't compare him to Hitler or Mussolini's type of fascism, nor is he another version of George Wallace. He did classify him as a new kind of American fascist, one who dishes out loads of authoritarianism, despotism, nativism, and incitement. And it's the first time he's ever heard of an American politician be described this way.

CARL BERNSTEIN: Well, it's a difficult term and the word "neo" meaning "new", has a lot to do with it, a new kind of fascist in our culture, dealing with an authoritarian, demagogic point of view, nativist, anti-immigrant, racism, bigotry that he appeals to, and I think we need to look at the past. And I'm not talking about Hitlerism and genocide, and I'm not making a direct parallel to Mussolini -- but a kind of American fascism that we haven't seen before, different than George Wallace who was merely a racist.

This goes to authoritarianism. It goes to despotism. The desire for a strong man who doesn't trust the institutions of democracy and government.

And my point is that we now need on cable news to have a debate, a historical debate about what fascism was and is and how Donald Trump fits into that picture, because it is something very foreign to our political culture in terms of a major presidential candidate in the 20th, or 21st century. And that debate is going on in print, online, but it is not part of our debate on cable.

No interviewer as far as I know has asked Donald Trump, "What is fascism, Mr. Trump? How are you different from the fascist message?"

STELTER: Just to be clear, you are calling him a neo-fascist?

BERNSTEIN: I think he's a neo-fascist in the sense of his appeal and methodology that has to do with authoritarianism, nativism, incitement which we're seeing now. And again, I think it's a term I've never used it to describe a living American politician.


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But I think you have to be very careful with this term and put it into some real connection that's not to say some of the things or many of the things he says about political correctness or anything else are true, that he doesn't have real ideas. I'm saying that we in the press need to look at this as a moment to look at history and how does Donald Trump have a debate about how he fits into the context of fascism or doesn't.

But a new American kind of fascism that does not deny the real anger and grievances that many, many Americans feel.

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