As the Trump Campaign Veers Further into Fascism

As the Trump Campaign Veers Further into Fascism May 21, 2024

three increasingly smaller and more faded black and white photos of Donald Trump
image via Pixabay

We need to talk about Donald Trump again.

I look forward to the day when I don’t ever have to talk about Donald Trump again, but that day hasn’t come yet.

The prosecution and the defense have rested in Trump’s tawdry Hush Money trial. This is Trump’s first criminal trial, but not his first trial for his disgusting dealings with a woman. We’ve heard from the sleaze David Pecker and from Stormy Daniels. We know details we wish we didn’t about the alleged encounter and what followed. I won’t hazard a guess about which way the jury we’ll rule. I think we’ll know soon enough.

I don’t think that any of these shameful details will deter the former president’s remaining fan base very much. They’ve made up their minds that it doesn’t matter–  because they insist he’s innocent and the victim of a conspiracy;  or, because he’s guilty of the affair but the financial crime is a paperwork error that shouldn’t matter very much; or, because he’s their modern-day King David and not expected to be held to the moral standards for ordinary men. Whether he’s found innocent or guilty, whether he’s sentenced to probation or a short jail term, they won’t care.

Donald Trump has been sounding more and more like a Fascist lately, as many have pointed out. I encourage you to read Professor Heather Cox Richardson’s latest substack about that, as she lays it out very well. He said of his rivals, “This is not a nation that belongs to them. This is a nation that totally belongs to you. It belongs to you. This is your home, this is your heritage.” He’s suggested that he’s entitled to a third term. He’s still perpetuating the lie that he somehow won the 2020 election but was robbed of his victory by fraud. And again, I don’t see that mattering to his fan base. I think they like it. I think that Trump’s supporters want to kiss up to an authoritarian as some people do– think of a certain stripe of Evangelical Protestant woman who refuses to contradict the man of her house, or a certain type of Traditionalist Catholic who is fond of Franco or Holy Roman emperors. Think of the way Mike Pence used to stare lovingly at Trump no matter what nonsense he spewed. I don’t understand that type of cowardly person, but they exist, and they’re not uncommon.

He’s stepping up the racism: today after his court date he said that “Jewish people who don’t vote for me should have their head examined” and then said that Judge Merchan, who comes from Columbia, “Hates Donald Trump. Take a look at him. Look at where he comes from!” And again, this isn’t a deterrent to his remaining fans. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been in a conversation with someone who says he’s going to vote for Trump because he’s pro-life, which eventually devolves into the so-call pro-lifer saying racist things about “illegals.”

And then there’s the “Unified Reich” meme.

You’ve probably heard of this already. Donald Trump’s social media approvingly posted a reel of fake newspaper headlines in an imagined Trump second presidency, including the line “the creation of a unified reich.” The post went up Monday afternoon, and wasn’t removed until sometime on Tuesday morning. The campaign claims a staffer did it without his approval, but they certainly took an awfully long time to notice if that’s the case.

His acolytes won’t care. They’re going to get into the comments of this post gaslighting me that it was just a mistake or a joke. But the fact is, they like it.

This is what they want.

The remaining Trump supporters do not want a democracy. They want an autocracy.

They do not want a nation which holds to be self-evident that all men are created equal. They  want mass deportation and concentration camps at the border.

They have had their chance to show us that they want something else, but they obviously don’t.

And no, they don’t want an end to abortion either: not when abortion rates started to go up in 2018 and continued to skyrocket after Dobbs. They probably want to punish people who get abortions, but they don’t want to save babies. That’s a red herring and always has been. Their methods don’t work, and only a fool would continue to think they will work.

I am the last person to say that America was perfect or even terribly good before the Trump years. I’m the last to say Biden is the best candidate for president, though he’s grown on me. But a second Trump presidency will remove what guardrails he had in 2017 and destroy what’s left of our democracy. A second Biden presidency will at worst leave things as bad as they are now. It might even give us an opportunity to make things better. Being trapped in an autocracy run by a malignant narcissist is a very bad place from which to make anything better for anyone. He is a very bad man, and the people who still support him are as bad, and a country with him at the helm a second time will be bad for the whole world.

Still, I do believe that Trump’s supporters are a minority.

I think there are significantly fewer of them than there were in 2020 when he lost– yes, he did lose, by a lot.

I know the polls are terrifying right now. I know that our country has suppressed voters and that the electoral college makes this unnecessarily difficult. But I do believe that a vast majority of Americans do not want Donald Trump to have a second term as president. I think that most people in our country realize that our democracy, however flawed, is worth holding onto. I think that it will take a tremendous amount of work, but we can change the course of history. We can hold on to our country.

And we must.

Because the way things are going now, after November, we just might not get another chance.


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