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Masha Gessen Hits Hard: Fascist Leader? Yes. Fascist Country? TBD.

Not hyperbole. Not hysteria. Trump is a fascist, and we are quickly becoming numb.

Journalist Masha Gessen joined Joy Reid this morning to help us figure out what stage of fascism the United States has achieved. There's a sentence I still cannot believe I had to write in seriousness.

On the scale from Democracy to Fascism:

Fascist Ruler? Check.
Fascist attitude towards Immigrants? Check.
Fascist Rule? Not yet. Not completely.

We still have people who stand up and object. We still have journalists who have platforms. We still have dissent. We still have some - some checks on this fascist ruler and his bootlicking toadies (who have been in power a long time, mind you....)

But hyperbole? Nope.

Full Transcript below.

REID: This is a map that shows the United States was a full democracy in 2015 and dipped into a flawed democracy in 2016 and 2017, when Trump came along. 21st in the ranking along with Italy, which we know has creeping fascism returning. We're seeing Poland return in this direction, Hungary, sort of this new axis of -- I don't know if you want to call it anti-democracy, I don't know what you call it, but it is happening. Madeleine Albright has written a book about fascism. There's a threat of hyperbole whenever we talk about Trump. You don't know if it's politics. Is it too much to call this fascism?

GESSEN: I don't think it's too much. I don't think we have fascist rule in this country, but what we have is a fascist leader. You know, we have nativist, nationalist leader devoting all his energy into portraying a group of people as super dangerous enemy, both sort of subhuman animals, right, infestation, and superhuman at the same time because they're so frightening. Because if we don't protect ourselves, terrible things will happen. We don't know what kind of catastrophe will befall us. That is fascism. Whether we allow fascism to take over this entire country is an open question and none of us knows what's going to happen. But it is by no means hyperbole to call Trump a fascist.

REID: It's scary. We were talking about it during the break. It is frightening but I think Americans have to start confronting frightening things and speaking in ways that we're not used to.

GESSEN: Right. And, you know, it's the oddest thing because we also talked about how fast it happens.

REID: Yeah.

GESSEN: But I'm always thinking about how slowly it happens, you know. Somebody posted recently the mock cover that "The Boston Globe" did before Trump's election to try to scare people that said, "Deportations to Begin," and we thought it would be so shocking just a year and a half ago, and now we're in the middle of it. Deportations have long since begun and worse than deportations.

REID: And soon internment camps. Masha Gessen, thank you very much.

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