It is a sad situation that, for the most part, Americans are completely ignorant of two terms used pejoratively to describe the opposing sides of the American political spectrum. It is true that most Americans understand that Republicans are conservatives and inherently terrified of, and violently resistant to change to maintain the power structure favoring the privileged few, and that Democrats are liberals and promote progress to advance the general welfare of all Americans.
Political pundits often go a bit farther and use “big confusing” words like “fascists” and “socialists” to describe each political extreme, but very few Americans comprehend those words’ meanings. In their most basic sense, socialism is when government owns and operates all businesses, financial institutions and property with no input of private individuals, and fascism is when corporations own, operate, and control all facets of a nation’s government without any input from the people.
Conservatives are infatuated with criticizing everything unrelated to corporatism and extremism as “socialism” because it resonates with their base’s inherent stupidity and horror due to having no idea what socialism entails. If conservatives understood what socialism is, they would understand that the United States military is the only socialistic entity in America. Conversely, the left often criticizes conservatives and the policies championed by Republicans as being fascist. Unlike the ‘socialist’ label, fascist is an apt description of Republican tactics and policies and an ideology that their clueless base ardently supports and falls victim to.
Regardless of what any American thinks of Donald Trump, he has performed a valuable service to America if for no other reason than highlighting, in grand fashion, his own fascist inclination that drives the Republican Party’s policies, practices, and allegiance to the rich and corporations. More than just his policies, Trump is unafraid to publicly practice fascist tactics and is having a great measure of success due to the past six years of Republicans’ conditioning their base.
It is no coincidence that the fascist zeal of today’s Republican Party and its racist, religious extremist base, is precisely the same as the fervent fascism of the early and mid-20th century; and Donald Trump has exposed the GOP as a fascist movement. In a recent article worth reading, Jeffrey Tucker argued brilliantly that Donald Trump is as much a fascist as Mussolini and Hitler for inciting conservatives “with race baiting, traditionalism, and ‘ugly American’ strongman tough talk; typically Republican.
It is true that Trump is not saying anything Republicans and their base do not ardently believe and support; he is just unafraid to say it loudly and it informs his growing popularity among conservative. As Tucker explains, Trump’s success is founded on saying exactly what conservatives believe and desperately want a conservative hero to say. Tucker argues that “Trump has tapped into it, absorbing unto his own political ambitions every conceivable conservative resentment; race, class, sex, religion, and economics. And he promises a new order of things under his mighty hand.” It is what every Republican candidate for president promises, except Trump is unafraid to say it in any venue.
Everything about Trump’s style, the blatant race baiting, xenophobia, and confrontational nationalism is not unique to Trump by any means; he is simply the most blatant and vocal about it. Republicans, on the other hand, reserve their fascist tactics for private fundraisers, town hall speeches, and special interests’ conference meetings. The only reason Trump is leading in some GOP polls is because he says what the base believes. For example, the conservative base is furious that immigrants are in “their country,” are violently angry that homosexuals are destroying Christian’s tradition of marriage, and that America not at war is a sign of weakness. In fact, in the same way that fascism reacted to modernity in the early 20th century, right-wingers are reacting angrily to social progress of the new century.
Today’s Republican Party, like its base of support, is twisted sick with dangerously unwavering and dogmatic traditionalism, religious extremism, and blatant intolerance of anything they define as “other.” In fact, except for the people twice electing an African American man as President, Republicans and their conservative base are reacting violently to the “social progress” the nation has experienced over the past twenty years. Like the early 20th Century fascists’ violently reacted to modernity and people’s flirtation with democratic values, Republicans have tapped into the religious and conservative negative reaction to America’s 21st Century modernity, or as it is called “social progress” and tolerance.
As any American who has been conscious over the past six years can attest, Republicans preach, promote, and practice intolerance, xenophobia, passion over reason, racial and religious purity, and nationalism, and they openly crusade against democratic values. An example is Republicans’ dangerous and successful denial of climate change and science that originates with “the corrupt alliance of anti-intellectual traditionalism, religious fundamentalism, and corporate influence; the ultimate expression of fascism pushed and paid for by the Koch brothers.
For a prescient comparison between today’s GOP and 20th Century fascism, it is worth considering Benito Mussolini’s ghostwriter and “philosopher of fascism,” Giovanni Gentile’s definition of fascism. Gentile writes that, “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” If that one statement does not accurately describe the Republican Party, and all its iterations, then the Sun rises in the West. It is nearing the point that although large corporations do not yet have ultimate control and power over government, republicans have brought the nation precariously close to government by corporation and achieved their fascist goals by closely following 20th Century fascist tactics of spewing hateful and religious intolerant ideology based on “traditional values;” values they claim the left have destroyed.
Those traditional values of guns, god, and racial purity predominate the official GOP platform that corporate interests fund to elect conservatives to serve those corporate interests; not the people. There is a reason the Republican establishment, or the Koch brothers, have not yet brought their considerable power to bear on Donald Trump to end to his campaign; he is conditioning the base for a “kinder gentler” Republican fascist to appeal to more mainstream voters. It is why fascists like Scott Walker, Rand Paul, and Jeb Bush are being labeled “moderate” when they are just as vicious, just as fascist, and just as much a Koch-Republican as Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is a predatory businessman who, like Koch Republicans, wants to run America like his personal corporation. He, like Koch Republicans, fully understands that the voters, including the Republican base, would not be amenable to living under a government run by a corporation, so he appeals to the base’s intolerance, xenophobia, passion over reason, racial and religious purity, nationalism and the idea that America’s 236 year-old liberal democracy is why conservatives are losing their precious traditions. Most Americans likely have no real idea what fascism is, but if they listen to Donald Trump and peruse conservatives’ agenda, they will realize that officially, Koch Republicans are fascists.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.