I’d like to write about the German election, Turkish passive-aggressiveness or Chinese incursions into Africa, but, like a mailman tossing a sausage to a dog en route to the mailbox, I’ve got to address Donald Trump.
I consider myself and immigration hardliner. I hate political correctness. I loathe the wannabe victims of the protestor class.
But Donald Trump scares the hell out of me.
From his aggressive ignorance on foreign policy to his whiplash-inducing domestic policy 180’s, Trump, in an amazing and historically unprecedented way, manages to embrace the most ugly and extreme views of both the left and the right. Bush lied us into Iraq? Check. High tariffs and restrictionist policies will scare the Chinese and bring back jobs? Check. Let’s deport 11 million illegal immigrants? Done. Then, let’s bring almost all of them back? Done and done. Fix Obamacare? Sure. Rename it Trumpcare. That should do it.
Conservative? Republican? The words are simply nomenclature that is increasingly irrelevant and outdated. Who needs Constitutional government when you’ve got Trump? Who needs a Bill of Rights when you have a blathering volcano of superlatives?
Carl Bernstein is now on record saying what everyone was thinking – that Trump has initiated a new, American fascism. It’s not an overstatement. Trump’s candidacy is singularly based on his, well, dictatorial personality – which is always a good way to begin down the road to fascism. Add in the preening disregard for other branches of government and what was only a “dictatorial personality” starts to actually resemble a dictator. Now factor in Trump’s implicit and explicit calls for violence. It is no wonder why a mainstream Democrat like Bernstein who, for years, sees Nazis in his soup, now has real reason to see blackshirts in the streets.
But is Trump fascist? Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism, at least it’s an ethos. Mussolini and Hitler were a lot of things, but they weren’t con men. They had deeply held convictions and did everything they could to turn those convictions into reality. Trump, on the other hand, has more in common with the Big Lebowski’s nihilists – an ignorant bully with no guiding principle or ideology to anchor him.
The question is…is nominating an unprincipled con man with totalitarian sympathies and a wildly capricious ideology going to work out better us than Mussolini did for Italy?
It looks like we’re getting much closer to finding out. And it may not matter whether Trump has historical precedent. It may not matter whether he continues the modern fascist tradition pioneered by Mussolini or simply redefines it. At the end of the day, fascist states labor under the dictates of one man. And if, in America’s case, it is Donald Trump, quibbling over semantics while he continues to redefine modern American politics, will be the least of our worries.