My colleague Jamie pointed out this Trump retweet this morning:
"@FrankyLamouche: how many of donald's rolling thunder brigade will sign up and go to war for him in the middle east."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2016
A number of people pointed out to The Donald that whoa, that's not a compliment and why retweet it. Of course, Donald's retweet habits are not known for their intelligence or consistency.
What struck me was the number of people saying here and elsewhere that they would fight for Trump.
For scores of election cycles Republicans have claimed to be the party of true patriotism and national security. Chants of USA! and pro-war nationalism have been a hallmark of the right wing in the United States.
But this is different. This is frightening.
— shadohchaser (@shadohchaser) May 30, 2016
— Jesse Lopez (@jlopezandfamily) May 21, 2016
Okay, so I found SNOTS (Some Nobody On Twitter) who say stupid things about their devotion to Trump. Does that make Donald Trump a fascist?
Robert Paxton, an expert on historical fascism, told Slate back in February that giving Donald Trump that label gives him way too much credit.
Do you think that Trump is consciously using fascist tropes, or do you think that he’s just sort of stumbled into this?
I doubt it’s conscious. I don’t think he’s a bookish man. I’m sure he’s never read a book about Hitler or Mussolini.
But Paxton does see clear similarities between Trump and fascist movements, including
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.
And here's the money quote:
Do you think there’s something about this moment in America that makes the country vulnerable to someone like Trump? Because as you noted, it’s hard to say that America is really in a horrible place.
No, this country has the strongest economy in the world and is still the strongest military power in the world without any close rival. The trends are not downward unless you were offended by the presence of a black man in the White House.
If you don't understand that the Donald Trump campaign is succeeding with Republicans because it promises a return to White supremacy, and that therefore it is a fundamentally fascist movement based on a falsely "patriotic" race war, you don't understand this year in American politics.