It Can't Happen Here ... Can It?



Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch. 

Can it happen here?

That’s the question circulating now that Donald Trump, the nativist, rabble-rousing xenophobe, and billionaire, is threatening to capture the Republican nomination for president of the United States — and it’s a question that isn’t being asked only on the left.  It’s been raised by a New York Times editorial, which claimed that Trump has brought the GOP “to the brink of fascism,” and by Republicans, ranging from neoconservative pundit Max Boot to Virginia's centrist former Governor Jim Gilmore. Conservative Times columnist Ross Douthat was reasonably typical in a piece headlined “Is Donald Trump a Fascist?” While he allowed that The Donald may not be Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini, he added, “It seems fair to say that he’s closer to the ‘proto-fascist’ zone on the political spectrum than either the average American conservative or his recent predecessors in right-wing populism.”

For figures ranging from comic Louis C.K. to right-wing commentator Glenn Beck, making direct Hitler-Trump comparisons has become the fashion of the moment.  I must admit, however, that “proto-fascist” sounds about right to me.  Certainly, the rise of Trump has caused many voters to take notice — the question being whether the real estate mogul (who further stirred the pot recently by retweeting a quote from Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini) could cobble together enough of a coalition of nationalists, Angry White Men, “poorly educated” working-class backers, the disaffected religious right, Islamophobes, immigrant-bashers, and others to wield the figurative pitchforks in a march to victory in November.

3/19/2016 11:08:45 AM

Donald Trump aside, it’s actually kind of beautiful that in America a large group of people known for owning guns are only feared because they vote. I also get a chuckle out of people who obsess over the apparent power of Not Relevant Anymore -- which apparent power actually comes from 100 million-or-so gun owners who will punish with political death anyone who tries to screw them over. Now, reflect that those 100 million gun owners own 350 million guns and 200 billion rounds of ammunition. If those 100 million gun owners were even marginally as crazy as the hoplophobic left make us all out to be, none of the anti-gun folk would be around to pen their nonsense. We just couldn't be as bad as they say without people like them stacked like cordwood on the street corners. That hasn't happened. Q.E.D. Relax. Chill out. It's going to be fine, and if it's not, reflect that we get the government we deserve.

3/18/2016 12:26:18 PM

Frothing, rabid emotional paranoia. The system isn't working. It's time to fix it, by taking a sledge hammer to the counterfeit apparatus that has seized it, and your worst nightmare is that Trump will do just that. Well, your nightmare is our wet dream. We want our country back. And we're going to take it back.

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