Fascism is the establishment of far-right authoritarian nationalism. This essay aims to illustrate how Trump is destroying democracy and replacing it with fascism.
Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete (1). You may recall from my previous articles that a core belief of liberalism is equality. Trump opposes marriage equality (2). He partnered up with Mike Pence “who has become the face of anti-LGBTQ discrimination after signing a bill to allow businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people because of who they are or whom they love.” (3) He has also stated that he will remove President Obama’s transgender protections (4). In December of 2016, Trump’s transition team asked the State Department about any programs or jobs being conducted related to gender equality “rattling State Department employees concerned that the incoming administration will roll back a cornerstone project of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” (5) On January 31st, 2017 Reuters ran an article reporting that advocates are “…bracing for a Trump administration rollback of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, despite a White House statement vowing to uphold protection for LGBT people in the workplace.” (6) Additionally, he espouses racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic views.
His racist views are well documented (7) –he attacked Gold Star parents, including mocking Ghazala Khan for being Muslim, In May of 2016 Trump implied that federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, couldn’t preside over Trump’s fraudulent Trump University case because of his Mexican heritage. The Justice Department sued his company twice for not renting to black people. Workers at his casinos have accused him of racism multiple times over the years (8) In a 1991 book by John O’Donnell, the author claims Trump opined that “laziness is a trait in blacks” (9) In that same book O’Donnell accuses Trump of saying “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” (10) In an interview with Jake Tapper, Trump said “he didn’t know enough about Duke to publicly denounce the former KKK leader.” (11) This list, copied from a Huffington Post article is worth reposting in its entirety – “His white supremacist fan club includes the Daily Stormer, a leading neo-Nazi news site; Richard Spencer, director of the National Policy Institute, which aims to promote the “heritage, identity, and future of European people”; Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, a Virginia-based white nationalist magazine; Michael Hill, head of the League of the South, an Alabama-based white supremacist secessionist group; and Brad Griffin, a member of Hill’s League of the South and author of the popular white supremacist blog Hunter Wallace.” (12) Furthermore, he has called Mexicans “rapists” (13) From this same article “Whether he’s mocking Chinese businesspeople with broken English, contorting his body to make fun of a disabled reporter, or calling out to “my African American,” again and again, Trump has provoked anxiety and played to racial divisions.” (14).
But that’s all like, sooo 2016. On January 30th 2017, Trump put out a statement on the Holocaust where “there was no mention that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, or an acknowledgment of the virulent, state-sponsored anti-Semitism that led to their deaths” (15). On February 1st 2017 in honor of Black History Month, well, I’ll just recommend reading this GQ article (16).
Literally, finding racist statements by Trump is ridiculously easy. The point of this article is not to point out this obvious fact, but to demonstrate how he is a fascist.
The second tenant of fascism is the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one party state. (17) This is in the process of happening as this piece is being written. The Senate Democrats decided to boycott the Senate Finance Committee’s confirmation hearings on two of Trumps nominees. These hearings have rules that require at least one Democrat be present to establish a quorum. While the Democrats were gone, the Senate Republicans simply voted to suspend the committee’s rules and move the two nominees to a full Senate vote. (18) This unprecedented move has essentially brought us to a one party system. The Republicans are now simply using their majority to exclude any dissenting voices.
Equally, if not more troubling, is that there are reports of some agents of Customs and Border Patrol not obeying temporary restraining orders issued by multiple federal judges (19). On top of that, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired for telling Trump’s lawyers to not enforce the recent Executive Order travel ban. (20) This shows a real concern about the Executive Branch eliminating dissenters, but this article goes on to explore some even more troubling information. In the letter firing her, she is accused of betraying Trump. This is a clear warning to anyone that Trump views as an enemy.
At the end of February 2016, I took a screen shot of WhiteHouse.gov that listed the branches of government as being the Executive and the Legislative, with no mention of the Judicial Branch:
Does that mean anything? Maybe not, but it was listed there on Jan 19th 2017. (21)
These events indicate a consolidation of power and loyalty. These are clear dangerous warning signs of the consolidation of totalitarian power.
The third part of the fascist takeover is to have a strong leader surrounded by members of the governing fascist party. This is done to forge “national unity” and “maintain a stable and ordered society” (22) Fascists refute the idea that violence is automatically negative in nature and views “…political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation”. (23)
Trumps inaugural address’s theme, which could have been lifted directly from the Fascist Handbook, was “National Unity.” (24) For what its worth, given other circumstances, I acknowledge that mentioning this particular tidbit would be ridiculous. But as I am trying to show the connections to fascism it seems germane. In his speech he says that “…for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.” (25) He ends this statement with the now famous “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” (26)
Trump has also threatened our own cities, telling Chicago that he will send Federal troops in to “fix the carnage” (27)
On February 1st 2017, Time reports a threat to send troops to Mexico to take care of “bad hombres” (28), Reuters reports putting Iran “on notice” (29), and The Hill reports Trump “lashing out at the Prime Minister of Australia” (30). That all happened TODAY!
The last thing I want to mention here is how Trump surrounds himself with sycophantic white nationalists like Bannon and Miller. Both of whom have expressed neo-nazi and fascist sentiments. His cabinet picks and executive branch nominees and staff are spectacularly unqualified and are truly a “basket of deplorables”. (I will make an exception for General Mattis, who is actually a very qualified appointee).
It would be well worth exploring Trumps violent and imperialistic statements and good Lord there are so many, but that would be an article unto itself and I think I have made my point. Like all fascist leaders, he has no problem with using violence and the threat of violence to “maintain an ordered society”.
The last major point is that fascists use protectionist and interventionist economic policies. Protectionism is an economic policy that restrains trade between countries through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and other government regulations (31). Trump loves to intervene. He has told pharmaceutical companies he wants them to move their manufacturing to America (32), he told Carrier to not move their factory to Mexico (33), and he told Ford to scrap a plant in Mexico (34).
Trump also loves tariffs. He has threatened China with a 45% tariff (35), German car makers with a 35% tariff (36), and Mexico with a 20% tariff (37).
These are the textbook economic policies of a fascist.
I would say that as long as this essay is, that in fact I have only scratched the surface of the fascist agenda being implemented by Trump. My ignorance of politics and the sheer volume of insults being hurled at the American people make it hard to put everything together as coherent as I would like. It is my hope that I have at least made a reasonable case to be concerned. Or terrified.
Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS (AOM), NCCAOM Dipl. Acupuncture
- You can find screen shots of both of these on my Facebook page from Jan 29th 2017.
- 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism