Is Trump a fascist?
In a word, yes. But what does this mean for the GOP and America?
The biggest story about Trump’s indictments (including the one expected this week from Georgia) is that Trump is centering his entire presidential campaign on them — and along the way is seeking to meld his identity with those of his supporters, so they feel personally attacked by the prosecutions.
For Trump supporters, this is not rallying-around-the-flag. It’s not even rallying-around-a-former-president. It’s rallying-around-themselves — aligning their personal identities with Trump.
More than half of Republicans — including 77 percent of self-identified MAGA Republicans — say the indictments and investigations against Trump are an attack on people like them, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll taken soon after the most recent indictment.
Think of it this way: The indictments, Trump’s 2024 campaign, the grievances of millions of Americans against a system that has bullied them for years, and Trump’s pathological narcissism are all fusing into a single, unalterable, irrational mass movement.
“I am your justice, I am your retribution,” Trump said when announcing his campaign.
“I’m being indicted for you,” he said in June, after being charged with retaining government secrets.
“I AM BEING ARRESTED FOR YOU,” he posted in all caps on August 3, the day of his indictment for seeking to overthrow the 2020 election.
At a campaign event in New Hampshire last week, he claimed, “They want to silence me because I will never let them silence you.”
The philosopher Hannah Arendt has pointed out that the fascist leader fuses his identity with his followers, so that followers lose their capacities for independent thought.
As the fascist leader takes over the factual, psychological, and moral premises of the world his followers inhabit, the followers relinquish their freedoms. They suspend critical judgment. They become automatons.
Be warned. What Trump and much of the Republican Party have embarked upon is as dangerous to the future of our democracy, and to the rest of the world that looks to America for leadership, as was Trump’s attempted coup leading up to January 6, 2021.
We need to get the word out.
I recently shared with you what I consider the five core elements of fascism, and why fascism is different from authoritarianism. I argued that Trump and the Republican Party are moving rapidly toward fascism, and I urged the media to use the term “fascist” rather than “authoritarian” to describe what Trump and his GOP are up to.
The talented young people I work with at Inequality Media Civic Action have produced a powerful video that uses actual clips of Trump to make these points. I’m sharing it with you in hopes that you find it useful. Please share.
Just click on the arrow below.