I’m reluctant (for now) to call Donald Trump an out-and-out fascist. But I think the adjective “fascistic” increasingly suits the man. That is, much of what he says is scarily reminiscent of the European fascism of the 1920s and 1930s.
The first truly disturbing sign was Trump’s call for the deportation of all 11 million persons in the US illegally– as if such a program could be implemented humanely and without massive repression and brutal force.
More recently, after the Paris atrocities, he endorsed a plan to require all American Muslims to register with a national database.
“I would certainly implement that. Absolutely,” Trump said in Newton, Iowa, in between campaign town halls.
“There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases,” he added. “We should have a lot of systems.”
When asked whether Muslims would be legally obligated to sign into the database, Trump responded, “They have to be — they have to be.”
The New York Times reported:
Asked later, as he signed autographs, how such a database would be different from Jews having to register in Nazi Germany, Mr. Trump repeatedly said, “You tell me,” until he stopped responding to the question.
Trump also refused to rule out requiring Muslims to carry special IDs.
The frightening precedents are obvious for anyone with the slightest awareness of 20th century history.
The two best responses I’ve seen so far are this piece by Aisha Sultan in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and this tweet from Tayyib Rashid. (Trump, of course, never served in the military.):
— #PeaceForAhmadis (@MuslimMarine) November 19, 2015
Trump later tried to backtrack by claiming that it was a reporter who suggested the database, that he couldn’t hear the question, and/or that he only wants a database of Syrian refugees. Well, that’s a relief.
Trump also advocated closing down certain mosques where “some bad things are happening,” although he didn’t define what those bad things might be, or if he would extend such a policy to churches where “bad things” are happening.
“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before,” he said. “And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”
And if that’s not enough to scare you: Do we really want a president who is subject to hallucinations?
All of this would be mildly amusing if not for one thing: Trump is consistently leading in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination, with other candidates doing a version of Trump-lite and with the relatively rational candidates (i.e., those willing the criticize Trump directly) trailing far behind.
Nothing Trump says or does, no matter how outrageous or insulting, seems to change that. And the Iowa caucuses are only 70 days away.
Update: More evidence (if you need any) of the fascistic nature of Trump and his campaign:
On Saturday, a black demonstrator at a Trump rally in Birmingham, Ala., was kicked and punched by white men in the crowd after he fell to the ground and one of the men put his hands around the demonstrator’s neck as if to choke him. Trump’s response? Maybe the man “should have been roughed up,” he said Sunday.
Endorsement of violence against political opponents? That has some very disturbing precedents.
A few hours later, Trump re-tweeted a graphic with invented statistics showing, falsely, that black people are responsible for most killings of white people. Disseminating this bogus graphic, which appears to have originated with neo-Nazis, followed a week in which Trump talked about forcing American Muslims to be registered in a database, putting mosques under surveillance and possibly closing them.