Donald Trump is a Fascist

File:Charlottesville "Unite the Right" Rally (35780274914).jpg
White supremacists holding Nazi, Confederate, and Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, for the August 2017 “Unite the Right” demo. Many participants wore Trump campaign merchandise. Trump described the protest as including “very fine people”, and drew moral equivalences between the far right and protestors opposing them. Pic: CC BY 2.0

By Thomas Carolan

The President of the USA is a fascist who is trying to steal the 2020 Presidential election. You can soften that down to saying Trump is an “authoritarian”, or a delusional psychotic would-be king of the USA, but fascist is better: a fascist is what Trump is in his opinions and in his actions where he is free to act as he likes.

The USA is not fascist. It is a creaking, malfunctioning, ill-designed old state, now with a fascist as its elected chief executive. Its mechanisms were created in the late 18th century and modified by successive broadenings of the franchise over a long time and by way of many constitutional amendments.

It was not a bourgeois democracy at the start. In so far as it is a democracy, it is as a result of the successive adjustments over a long time.

Now the incumbent president, the 45th, has openly declared that he will not accept the outcome of the 3 November election. That if he loses — when he loses, as by all that is known from opinion polls he will — it will prove that the election was fraudulent (“a hoax”), and he will not abide by the decision.

He and his supporters are campaigning against the upcoming election, proclaiming that it is going to be “stolen” from them by widespread electoral fraud.

Trump says openly that he will agree to a peaceful transfer of power only if the election is free and fair — and he and his supporters say the election will not and cannot be free and fair so long as postal ballots are part of it. Trump has offered no evidence of fraud, just asserted its presence.

Postal ballots have been part of the voting system for a very long time. Trump himself has recently cast postal ballots in the states of Florida and New York. In the conditions of the pandemic, whether they vote in person at a polling station or by mail is a matter of life and death for many voters.

What happens if or when Trump loses the election and refuses to go? The Supreme Court will decide. The death of a liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, gives the President the chance to appoint her successor and get himself a Supreme Court that will most likely back him in an appeal on the presidential election.

Trump and his gang are organising for a “constitutional” coup. Constitutional lawyers point out that Republican-controlled state legislatures can legally decide to ignore how voters in their states have voted and send to the Electoral College pro-Trump delegates who can choose to vote the opposite way to the electorate.

Electoral college

Trump lost the election of 2016, by nearly three million votes. He won an Electoral College majority, because of the distribution of the vote between states, and became president. The same thing happened in 2000. George W Bush, a very bad president, who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, won fewer votes than his opponent, Al Gore. He won in the Electoral College.

Two times already in the first 20 years of this century, the will of the electoral majority has been thwarted, in both cases with terrible consequences.

Trump has steadfastly refused to adopt a national program to fight the virus. Over 200,000 people are dead from it in the USA, a big portion of whom would be alive had Trump done his job as national president. He left it to each state, or groups of states coordinating their anti-covid measures, to act.

The worst plague in a century has been made a party-political plaything, with Trump competing with the scientists in advising Americans what to do. Notoriously he suggested, in all seriousness, that injecting disinfectant might help.

To wear or not to wear masks has been made a party-political issue! The US president has campaigned against the recommendations of “his own” experts on it. To unmask is to be a macho, John Wayne, sock-on-the-jaw, American hero; to mask up is to be a sissy, scared by a little virus into taking precautions.

The US is not a fascist system? No. But the elements of fascism are there, and may coalesce. History repeats itself, but never exactly. Mussolini came to power in 1922, but the Fascist Party was organised only in November 1921. It came into being by the coming-together of fascism’s elements that had long existed.

The single most alarming thing in US politics right now is the stability of Trump’s base. Around 40% of the electorate back Trump even after a deluge of scandals and horror stories about him — including proof out of his own mouth that he knew that the coronavirus was deadly when he was telling Americans that it was no more than the flu, and charges of rape and of largescale financial fraud.

Trump once boasted that he could go and shoot someone on Fifth Avenue (New York), and his supporters would still love him and go on supporting him.

It is proved that he acts like an agent of the authoritarian Russian government of Vladimir Putin. So what? says the traditionally chauvinist political Right.

He has lied to the American people? You have your truth, his supporters respond. That’s fake truth, fake news! We have our own truth! You stick to yours and we’ll stick with ours – and President Trump’s.

Trump, who is now campaigning to discredit the election he thinks he will lose, has throughout his time in office campaigned against press and TV journalists who accurately report his sayings and doings, and in the virus era, he has campaigned against science. He routinely denies what he doesn’t want to be true, and asserts blatantly and rapidly self-contradictory lies.

In office, he has told (“fact-checkers” have counted) up to 30,000 lies so far. He asserts his own version of reality, and denies anything he doesn’t want to acknowledge. Trump is the high priest of political gobbledygook. Trump’s “base” are trapped in a cult. For 200,000 Americans this is, in the pandemic, a death cult. It is a fascistic cult, anti-science and anti-rational, with lying, demagogic appeals to disaffected people.

The hard-core Trumpists see him as their champion against the “Establishment”, against those on top, against those who frustrate and oppress them. His lying is part of a combat against an oppressive truth-reality.

The idea of a self-proclaimed billionaire con artist, who in office has given vast tax cuts to the rich and is doing his best — in the middle of a pandemic! — to scrap the Obamacare health insurance system — to see him as the champion of the oppressed is ridiculous. As ridiculous as people in Britain accepting Princess Diana as their champion and representative — as indeed millions did.

In 2016 polls reported that a lot of Trump’s supporters said that voting for Bernie Sanders, a socialist, might be an have been an alternative for them to voting Trump. A lot of Trump supporters have been battered by the realities of 20/21st century America. They have been confronted by market facts and market logic which have meant the destruction of industries and their jobs, and by science which tells them such things as that fossil-fuel extraction and use are a deadly threat to the environment.

Facts! Whose facts? Real facts or false facts and fake news? And how can you tell? And who cares, confronted with unemployment and poverty, all of which can be justified by facts and someone else’s logic?

Trump’s supporters live in a mental and spiritual world where witch-doctors prance about on TV and radio preaching god-awful nonsense, most of them blatant con-men and women milking suckers for money. This is an American political world in which mainstream politicians, to win election, have to proclaim themselves, and go through the motions of being, religious, and in which Trump does that with transparent and blatant hypocrisy without alienating those of his followers who are sincerely religious. A world in which the vice-president, Mike Pence, is known not to accept the science of evolution. A world in which the president of the USA can deny climate change. Where he can be an open racist ten times over and get the whole Republican Party leadership to cover for him, and try to benefit from it.

A large part of the old political Establishment, and in the first place the no.1 party of the American plutocrats, the Republican Party, has been taken over by the Trumpists. Relating directly by Twitter and TV to grass-roots Republicans, Trump has been able to remake the Republican Party, working from the top down.

Absent socialist movement

Bernie Sanders has done tremendous work as an advocate of sanity and socialism, but, in the absence of a strong organised socialist movement that would bring them enlightenment and give them hope and purpose, this mass of disaffected (white) people seem set to follow Trump wherever he wants them to go. Their hard core forms a mass base for fascism — or for now, for a fascistic president, backed by the many armed militias and by a Republican Party drilled into line, no matter what Trump says or does, by fear of Trump’s supporters and by hunger for power and the things it brings.

The difference between fascism and other authoritarianism is that fascism mobilises a mass movement to beat down its enemies and the other sorts do not, or not much. The most alarming shift is the development of a mass movement supporting Trump.

The elements of a fascistic authoritarianism are thick in the air. Meanwhile, the pandemic has closed down and half-wrecked much of the American economy, and continues. These two things create an unprecedented situation.

Much depends on how the Democratic Party responds to Trump’s authoritarian offensive. But not only on the response of the Democratic Party.

The mass demonstrations against police who murder black men and women are multi-racial assemblies. The need for concern with other people in the pandemic, the need for social solidarity, must be creating a culture that is the opposite of Trumpism, and trending towards socialism.

There will be tremendous resistance on the streets if Trump and the Supreme Court attempt to take Obamacare away from people who have had great lessons, negative and positive, from the pandemic, about the need for socialised medicine.

All that is a formidable barrier against Trump after the election. But serious violence erupting after the election is possible – and even probable. □

* This article also appears in the latest issue of Solidarity

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s