Preparing for the Normalization of a Neofascist White House

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

It is 2017, and shortly the White House will be inhabited by an unscrupulous, corrupt narcissist who has shamelessly mobilized the Neo-Nazi fringe of the Republican Party to get into power.

Despite all the cries of ‘no’ to normalization on the left, Trump will be normalized by the same corporate media that virtually boycotted Bernie Sanders. He will be respectfully called “the president” and his wishes and goals will be praised on cable news, and not just on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Fake News. He’ll flash a smile and be friendly and anchors will treat him like a buddy (despite his having threatened their colleagues with bodily harm at his rallies and despite his having pledged to weaken the first amendment and sue reporters for libel). Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal is already pledging never to call Trump out when he is obviously lying. Since Trump is, like Dick Nixon, a pathological liar, this is like pledging not to cover his presidency.

Americans cultivate a myth about themselves that they are rugged individualists, but in fact they are for the most part timid sheep who worship power and are glad to defer to it if it mouths a few white nationalist keywords. French workers, for whom Americans have such contempt, would never allow themselves to be walked all over the way American workers have been. Americans who don’t go along to get along are branded traitors by fresh-faced young Neo-Nazis who have infiltrated our supposedly democratic institutions and engage in blackballing and smearing.

Just in the past week we have been treated to a number of classic fascist themes by the PEOTUS and his team.

Trump’s monstrous New Year’s message, delighting in having defeated his enemies and in their despair, displayed his typical feigned machismo (is he Frank Sinatra, that he has ever been in a fistfight?) Vindictiveness and trash talking are part of his contempt for the weak and determination to victimize them.

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Another typical fascist theme is suspicion of modernity, science and the Enlightenment. Trump’s low regard for modern technology was made abundantly clear when he said last Wednesday, according to Reuters, “I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on.” He maintains that it is impossible to trace hackers (not true, though it can be very difficult).

He has now gone on to suggest that important memos be written out on paper and delivered by courier. His climate denialism goes along with this irrationality. And of course the very medium in which these irrational statements are delivered, a tortured English with impossible syntax making sweeping assertions that the truth can never be arrived at, is Newspeak of the fascist variety.

With his typical narcissism, Trump maintained that he “knows things about hacking” that others do not and will reveal them in a few days. The narcissism feeds into the fascism, since he is the great leader who should be trusted above other sources of information, even when it is obvious, as it usually is, that he does not have the slightest idea what he is talking about.

Then Mother Jones reported that Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of Labor thinks workers are over-protected and that they should not get breaks. Contempt for the weak is a major theme of Trump and his team. Such huuje losers. Don’t deserve a doctor visit or a coffee break. Bah humbug.

What do you want to bet that the secretary of labor’s position never even gets discussed on a national news channel?

Trump will be normalized. All the rest of us can do is simply keep in mind that he is a fascist, and to continue to point to his record on fascism, from hatred of Mexicans and African-Americans and Muslim Americans to his contempt for women to his pledge to carpet bomb Iraq and Syria to his threat to imprison his chief political opponent. We can continue to remember his determination to deprive workers of their basic rights. We can remember that Steve Bannon, the editor of the Neo-Nazi rag Breitbart, is among his closest advisers.

All we can do is resist normalization, first of all in our own minds and then in our social circles and on social media. And when Trump begins victimizing innocent people, we have to remain prepared to mobilize. Fascism gets tossed around lightly as an insult on the internet. This is the real thing, folks. We are Italy, 31 October, 1922. Bad things are about to happen.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

ABC News: “Trump Promises to Reveal More Details Regarding Allegations That Russia Hacked the Election”

65 Responses

  1. You may well be right about the media and press being respectful to Trump once he is in the white house, but to date they have treated Trump with contempt and disdain. The press and media will look rather silly if they suddenly start to laud every thing Trump says or does. Frankly, I just can’t see the media praising Trump if he cosies up to Putin and starts making overtures of good will to the Russians.

    • The media doesn’t have to praise Trump. Trump says things to which the media has to act if they ‘cover the President’. So Trump initializes a couple of news cycles by ‘saving’ 800 carrier jobs with government tax breaks and twitters it as the product of his jobs program. ANY cooperation with Russia in Syria against ISIS will credit Trump, altho’ ISIS has be neutered by the current administration…The media as a whole was against Trump, but he is a master showman and that’s his strength

    • “Contempt and disdain”? Not hardly, when any “tweet” that Trump farts out at 3am is suddenly the top national/international news and blared out and repeated endlessly 24×7.

      And why not? It gets the clicks and eyeballs, and that means revenue. The US has decided it wants a “for profit” media, not a “free press.” This is what happens. All fits in nicely with the “fascist” model of combining government and industry. Which, non-coincidentally, Trump Industries is using to make Big Money already.

    • Let’s not forget how delighted Les Moonvess of CBS was with Trump when said that Trump was very good for CBS revenues. Instead of “if it bleeds it leads” we will be getting something like “the more outrageous the better.”

  2. I used to think it was politicians who’ve created this mess. But it isn’t. Not totally, anyways. The media has such a big hand in it. ‘Pardoning a turkey’ on Thanksgiving takes up 3 minutes of coverage on the national news, and things like climate change and income inequality are covered only in second-tier news sources. The truth is elusive and has to be searched out. Most folks don’t have the time (or inclination) to do that.

    It’s almost impossible to fix. People are actually voting directly against their best interests, and aren’t even aware of it.

  3. It is difficult to avoid a sense of inexorability about the current political situation. In a comment here back in April, I wrote: …Within the US, however, the classic ingredients for a move towards fascism have begun to form, and I suspect most of Trump’s populist appeal is a reflection of that. It won’t happen shortly, perhaps it never will, but it has some life in it and it’s stirring. Well, they have formed further since then, but attributing Trump to Trump alone doesn’t usefully address what is actually happening since in a sense he has been drawn into a vacuum. I don’t see Trump as a fascist, more what one might call ‘opportunistically fascistic’, and likely as astonished as anyone that the bouquet actually fell into his hands. Seriously, does anyone really think he has a fascist agenda, is intent on destroying liberal democracy in favour of a one party state, looks to employ diktat to deal with the economy, and dark shirts to enforce social order? If not, then he is a symptom of something that everyone might combine to address rather than bury heads in sand or exacerbate through further retributive conflict. Aside from the disorder caused to the rest of the world, US foreign policy is eroding domestic freedoms and eating away at social and political institutions. Those still have real self-repairing potential and if Trump can bring the temperature down abroad in favour of making domestic issues his priority then he will have made a greater contribution than his recent predecessors.

    • America was more racist under isolationism than internationalism. Stop looking for a solution there.

      You don’t know the meanness of ordinary Americans. They aren’t made evil by our foreign policy elites. Hitler had many friends in isolationist America, but FDR cleverly used his alliance with Japan – which we hated not just because it defeated us at Pearl Harbor, but because it threatened our own belief in racial supremacy thereby – to silence those friends and agglomerate Hitler and Hirohito as a single threat in the public’s mind. Which they were, but the ordinary public wasn’t thinking deep thoughts about the global rise of fascism, it was just vengeful.

      And just to flip that around, after that war the USSR was using our shameful Jim Crow to lure the new developing nations to its side. US liberal Cold Warriors held that over our racists, argued that we had to desegregate at home to win the propaganda war abroad.

      This, really, was the unimaginable catch of the disappearance of a Communist threat. Liberals could no longer argue that greater equality was needed as a propaganda weapon. Capitalism and racism could be themselves again.

      You’re being too charitable to the Right to say they could only have used our War on Islam to commit all the evils we’re seeing. Look at the larger battle in American law. It’s all about establishing one tiny precedent for treating another group as inferiors under the law. For the right-wing movement, the right to (1) treat Blacks as a special threat under “Stand Your Ground” laws, (2) treat the children of illegals as a basis to end birthright citizenship, (3) establish a special religious “right” to discriminate, (4) profile Moslems in the airports or Blacks in the streets, all are one strategy to get support for that one crack in the idea of legal equality. Once it’s made they will move swiftly to spread it to all laws like they did under Jim Crow. They’re not responding sincerely to a crisis created by our evil foreign policy, they’re looking to provide us Americans all possible excuses to honestly exercise the evil that still lurks in our hearts.

      • I wasn’t implying the Right used the War on Islam to commit all the evils we’re seeing. I am sorry if it looked that way. There are fundamental moral, economic and environmental problems just as there are growing infrastructural needs that call for attention, talents and resources currently expended on unipolar aspirations and military adventures. It is not possible for a nation to maintain merciless aggression abroad and social compassion at home. Each contaminates the other with the result that foreign policy is too meek and domestic policy too heartless. Obama is the unfortunate quintessence of that dilemma. If you want to rule the world, apply every resource to that end. If you want a flourishing homeland apply them there instead and only fight wars every able-bodied citizen urgently supports.

    • Yes, for all the mocking of global warming and peak oil, we’re in a period of increasing scarcity. Scarcity breeds fascism.

      We’re in a period where the fight for resources has begun. It’s a “dog in a manger” era, where the haves are increasingly nervous about the have-nots asking whether they can please have some resources. The have-nots are increasingly likely to stop asking and start taking.

      Trump isn’t Obama – Trump thrives on surfing the zeitgeist. The current zeitgeist is one of fear and hate, so Trump will be preaching more of both. He’ll soon be joined by other world leaders.

      • It is an artificial scarcity created by the accumulation of wealth in fewer and fewer hands.

        Technologically and scientifically there is no barrier to growth, even the fossil fuel powered one. But the real game changer is mobile and solar, that can bring first world infrastructure into the most remote places at very low cost.

        The pains we are experiencing globally is solely due to misaligned socioeconomic structures. Similar to the dawn of fascism in the 20th century. The Haber-Bosch process was already invented, mass electrification was taking place, the political insanity was not driven by economic fundamentals but gyrations and misalignment of out of control market forces.

  4. As someone who has been a student of American literature and later on of American politics and who wrote his M.A. thesis on Oriental Influences on the Work of Ralph Waldo Emerson and was delighted by the universalist outlook of Emerson and the rest of American Transcendentalists, as someone who founded the very first Department of American Studies in Iran with a mutually beneficial exchange program between Iranian and American students that continued right up to the year of the Islamic revolution, also as someone who has lived and taught in America and has been greatly impressed by the American heritage of openness, freedom, tolerance and equality, I really cannot believe what I have been witnessing in American politics during the past few decades, especially since 2003.

    The invasion of Iraq, perhaps the worst policy disaster for the United States, was based on lies and was conducted in a vicious way that involved the killing and wounding of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, the destruction of an entire country giving rise to the worst type of Islamist terrorism that we have ever witnessed. American forces engaged in the worst examples of torture and human rights abuse in Abu-Ghraib, Bagram airbase, Guantanamo and various other hellholes where rendered detainees were kept. The war cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars. Yet, despite all that, in such a short time all that seems to have been forgotten and once again some hawks in the new Administration are openly advocating a more devastating war, this time against Iran.

    I simply cannot understand how in a country with such a strong democratic and humane tradition as the United States, with such a strong educational and scientific culture, some politicians who openly tell lies, who have no regard for scientific truths, who are totally ignorant of other countries and civilizations can achieve such popularity that they can achieve power. Those who fact-checked Donald Trump’s assertions during the presidential campaign discovered that between 70-80% of them were simply false, yet that seems to have had little effect on his supporters. Members of the new Administration and Congressmen openly make xenophobic and racist remarks against whole religions, cultures and races and they are not challenged. Various officials jump up and down openly advocating illegal and aggressive wars, yet only a few years after the Iraqi debacle people seem to support them.

    I believe that what we are seeing is not merely a sign of political decline but a deep-seated malaise that is eating into the heart and soul of American civilization. Not only do these factors negate the American claim to be the leader of the free world, they are even cheapening and destroying the American culture and civilization for the Americans themselves. I am sure that most Americans would not like to live in a country, whose government is described by Professor Cole, one of the most learned and eminent scholars of America’s relationship with the Middle East as “Neofascist”. There is really a need for a fundamental rethink of where America is heading before it is too late.

    • You should use your background to write an “I can’t believe….” op-ed to WSJ or NYT or WAPO

      • You seem to forget that the alternative to Trump was Clinton who is a known war monger and a liar to boot. At least Trump had no political baggage.= to his name.

        • I would call his racist and sexist opinions – when he wasn’t even running for office – very political baggage. The problem isn’t government, as so many of Clinton’s enemies both Left and Right claim. The problem is White American men and the monstrous “past” that they worship.

          Hitler never held office before 1933. The world judged the German people guilty for starting the clock on Hitler after voting him in, instead of admitting that he showed ample signs of being a monster beforehand – the monster they craved.

        • Fact checking sites found Clinton the most accurate and honest of all the candidates, including Sanders. You must have been one of those people who before the election was telling us that Trump would be better (safer) than Clinton. If you haven’t realized your error by now, there is no hope for you. Trump is a real danger to world peace and temperamentally unsuited to hold office.

        • I question whether serious people would consider Ms. Clinton more honest or accurate than ALL of her opponents, if you allow me to include the candidates whom you did not consider to be serious contenders. Gary Johnson was the most honest. Rand Paul was pretty honest. John Kasich. But they were all poor campaigners, and were not willing to pander to the haters on either side.
          Many folks, including me, are revolted by Trump winning, but still believe Ms. Clinton would have been far worse.
          If only those on the Left weren’t so sure that they knew what was best for the deplorables, and instead were open to compromise, we might have had one of those honest people elected.
          I earnestly hope that some learning took place.

    • Thank you for your excellent comment, but I believe there is one error: “I simply cannot understand how in a country with such a strong democratic and humane tradition as the United States,…”

      The U.S. has been responsible for many improvements that have benefited humanity, but they are mostly the consequences of technological and scientific work. On the other side of the ledger are slavery once enshrined in the Constitution and slavery that continues to this day by other names. There was also the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans who continue to be abused. There have been wars of aggression for well over a century to expand the American empire that remain ongoing enterprises bringing death and misery to countless people around the world.

      There are many American people and organizations striving to make this a better world, but it seems that others who are prepared to wreak death and destruction on other citizens and nations prevail.

    • I think the odd thing about America’s endless proclamations about equality and justice is that there were always asterisks tacked on. How else could we have lived with “All Men are created Equal” when we clearly didn’t mean that?

      It’s as if, in Europe, feudalism and monarchy made people have to spell out specifically what the basis of rights were, whether different ethnicities were to be transferred from their joint subjugation under monarchs to bureaucratic republics as equals or as greater and lesser tribes with gradations of injustice. Whereas Americans vaguely accepted that at best there was an inner tribe of “real” Americans over a herd of people equivalent to the conquered and abducted individuals who were a part of the economic model of expansionist tribal societies. All our idealism worked within the tribe, and then was strained when people of conscience tried to reach out to those others. I’ve compared it to the Stanford Prison Experiment, where subjects were coded as guards and prisoners and their humanity was entirely deformed by that boundary. As much as Europeans hate each other, they can see right over their borders into entire countries run by people unlike themselves, yet with many similarities. America was set up to make that experience impossible. Our idea of humanity is personal at the level of the race we hang out with, and abstract beyond that whether it’s to all people or only those in distant lands who look like us.

    • The electronic national media simply do not cover _any_ serous issues with any depth or complexity. In 2002 they never called out the lies the Iraq invasion was based on; in 2016 they never followed up on Trump’s nonsensical word salad speeches, they might ask one question and get another 2-minute spurt of word salad, but they never challenged that response to his face. It might only have taken one strong reporter saying, “I’m sorry sir, your response makes no sense. Are you actually able to speak a clear, intelligent sentence on this subject?”

      But because video producers are ultra-concerned about what you _see_ rather what you _gain_ from their presentations, and because it is very difficult and time-consuming to actually get into policy details and the nuances of truth and falsehood in a short video segment, Americans are indeed becoming stupider and stupider by the year. The print media of previous generations did convey much more total information, and overall context, than today’s televised media (and more also of both than today’s confused, contentious internet media, where too many are happy to deny that any kind of “truth” actually exists), and above all, they did have an overall ethic — “elitist” as it may have been — that they had an obligation to INFORM the public and help it make better decisions.

      Breitbart and the like clearly do not share this ethic, and it does make a difference.

    • Your explorations of American literature could have revealed that other America which has never been characterized by “openness, freedom, tolerance and equality”. See Twain, Melville, Hawthorne. See the 1790s-vintage Gothic fictions of Charles Brockden Brown, who virtually invented the American novel. The potential for something akin to fascism has always existed in the US; it could even be argued that the US produced one of the very first incarnations of a modern fascist movement in the post-Civil War Klu Klux Klan.
      For most of the 20th century a non-replicable combination of cheap resources and successful wars could keep fascism at bay, though even here there were some close calls (McCarthyism in the 1950s, for example). Now the country has to deal with a combination of increasingly more expensive resources and increasingly less successful (and seemingly interminable) wars. Under these circumstances, the emergence of someone like Trump comes as no big surprise.
      You’re right about the need for “a fundamental rethink of where America is heading”, but this should have happened 25 years ago. The reason why it didn’t is that the collapse of the Soviet Union seemed to signal the permanent demise of anything resembling socialism (also known as “the end of history”). With socialism in any way, shape, or form apparently discredited for good, anyone who wanted to rethink where the country was going had no intellectual framework for doing so. With no socialist alternative, we were left with either creeping barbarism via neoliberal economic policies and neoconservative foreign policies, or the right-wing populist version now well over the horizon. So the necessary “rethinking” is going to have to go well beyond the question of who runs the Democratic National committee.

  5. True dat. Bad things are about to happen but Trump’s also going to find that millions of Americans will not go along with his agenda.

    I share your suspicion of the MSM but there’s also reason for optimism. Both the NYT and the WaPo abandoned the useless “ping pong” approach to reporting events where newspapers just mindlessly repeat candidate claims. They began to note bluntly when Trump lied. Yes, it came relatively late in the campaign, but this marked a harbinger for a free and aggressive press. Even some of the electronic media surprised – Jake Tapper, in particular -demonstrated that, yes, TV talking heads can call BS.

    Trump’s taking possession of the WH is bad news but let’s also remember that despite his electoral college victory, he still lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. The Dems can build on that support. It’s up to the leadership to offer a better alternative so that tens of millions of bamboozled Americans don’t make the same mistake again. The challenge, obviously, is going to be the search to find new leaders with bold, smarter ideas that resonate.

    • Del Berton wrote: “The challenge, obviously, is going to be the search to find new leaders with bold, smarter ideas that resonate.”

      Bernie Sanders already demonstrated much of what is needed. And, he was absolutely repudiated by the Democratic Party–recall the DNC e-mail in which they wrote about how the Sanders campaign had to be “crushed”.

      The public’s response to Sanders’ campaign certainly demonstrated that there is lots of support for an alternative to Trump and what he represents. However, the Democratic Party did their best to show us that they are uninterested in leading that alternative. At this point, the leadership of the Democrats would have to be swept clean and a totally new group put in, dedicated to taking up the fight that Sanders started. That is not happening. It may be more practical to organize a third party.

      • R.A., however sincere your thoughts on a 3rd Party are, they are the exact opposite of what’s needed. A 3rd Party with a core of disaffected Democratic voters will ONLY elect more Republicans. The process required is to take over the Democratic Party like the right-wing extremist Tea Party and others took over the GOP. You might have to work hard to do so, instead of take the easy rhetorical way out like you do, but Bernie and his supporters and others have already started the job for you. Join in. Despair less.

    • They said the same thing about ultraconservative Ronald Reagan in 1980.

      Reagan won 49 of 50 states against Democratic Party Walter Mondale in 1984.

  6. Well written. One thing that stands out is how, during the campaign the enemies of the Reich were labeled “libs” and “snowflakes”, tapping into the anger of the right. After the election they already have labels ready, and “liberal” is not at all an ideological identity but a stamp for anyone not in lock step. While the don talks nice to some toady on TV his jack-booted thugs will make sure he is in control.

  7. They won’t look rather silly to a society whose citizens are accustomed to taking at face value anything they are told by “the authorities”; failing to investigate much beyond a headline and a few paragraphs; and promptly forgetting what believed yesterday in favor of the broadcast they heard today, which elicits their simple (and satisfying) sense of outrage.

  8. I think major journalist, those of the NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, USA Today, well understand what a vacuous phony, yet potentially dangerous man Trump is.

    They have all written, scathing opinions expressing their extreme disgust of Trump and have all endorsed Clinton, with the exception of USA Today which rather than endorsing anyone, wrote an ‘un-endorsement’ of Trump

  9. Another fascist tendency is controlling information. Aside from the fact corporate-controlled media (CCM) gave an obvious fascist side-show barker BILLION$$ in free coverage and exposure which got Trump elected. The twisted information as ranted via Twitter coupled with CCM “expert” analysis is a form of the “tail waging the dog” in information control via a neofascist CCM, another extension of the on-gong CEO coup d’état, an obvious putsch to completely remove the voices and needs of the average citizen from being heard by government and to run things to solely benefit themselves and their ilk.

    “Normalization” is another word for propaganda which is “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view” available 24/7 via CCM.

  10. French workers, for whom Americans have such contempt, would never allow themselves to be walked all over the way American workers have been.

    This brings to mind a comment from one of Michael Moore’s movies: The French government fears its people, but the American people fear their government.

  11. Then Mother Jones reported that Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of Labor thinks workers are over-protected and that they should not get breaks. Contempt for the weak is a major theme of Trump and his team. Such huuje losers. Don’t deserve a doctor visit or a coffee break. Bah humbug.

    This man is as morally debased as some of the worst characters in Dickens’ novels but with an ability to cause more agony than Dickens could ever have imagined. He is also a lousy manager. Several management studies have shown that workers are more productive if they get breaks. Presumably, this appalling choice for the labor department is more interested in showing how tough he can be.

  12. In many cities there are going to be anti-Trump rallies on January 20 or 21. I myself am going to one in my nearest big city–San Diego-which begins at 10 a.m on Saturday the 21st, near the foot of Broadway. All of those concerned about our politics should seek out a similar demonstration or start one of your own in your town. Opposition to this budding tyrant needs to be strong and continuous.

  13. trump has not been treated w disdain etc, by and large, by npr. the times has been calling him out, but npr has normalized him. if you believe, as juan makes really crystal clear, that his far-right nationalism has classic traits of neofascism–which is patently obvious if you compare it with all the equivalents in europe, then how the hell are you supposed to treat him? disdain is far from enough. and even the times has idiots like douthat who patiently explain to us why it won’t be so bad under trump. christ! it is hard to be patient facing what dangers he represents.

  14. Trump has no ideology; he is an opportunist who will do whatever he thinks will benefit himself at the time. That is why he has been so hard to predict, because people have been expecting to see an ideology, and his guiding force is narcissism.

    That is not to say, though, that he won’t implement a fascist agenda to the extent that he can profit from it.

  15. Donald Trump received his mandate by the people – and not the GOP establishment – who saw him as a danger and embarrassment initially.

    In the State of Michigan only one U.S. Congress member – the retiring Candace Miller from Macomb County, endorsed Trump before he secured the presidential nomination and even after he received the nomination most elected GOP leaders in Michigan did not support him – which is unheard of for a U.S. presidential nominee.

    Candace Miller and Michigan GOP chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel were the only two major GOP leaders in Michigan to support Trump – and Ms. Romney is likely to be appointed the new national RNC chair.

    An interesting point, Oakland County, MI is heavily Republican and white collar, but Macomb County directly to the east is traditionally blue-collar and Democratic. Clinton won Oakland County by a wide margin and Trump won Macomb County by a 54%-42% margin.

    In Macomb County the Trump coattails were nothing less than stunning:

    (A) since the 1940s, when the county was largely farmland, only one Republican ever held countywide elected office – but three of the five sets up for grabs went to Republicans;

    (B) GOP leader and Trump supporter Candace Miller soundly defeated a 24-year Democratic incumbent who spent $1.9 million in the public works commissioner race – she gave Trump’s countywide electoral landslide credit for her win;

    (C) a 64-year old homemaker with no political experience and a $1400.00 campaign budget was elected county clerk and register of deeds as GOP nominee over a powerful Democratic Party insider;

    (D) a 72-year-old GOP nominee with no public office experience or any real campaign organization defeated a well-connected Democratic incumbent for county treasurer.

    Macomb County in 1980 was the birthplace of the “Reagan Democrat” – winning a sweeping victory despite an ethnic blue-collar electoral constituency. It is considered a national bellweather for political trends by experts.

    Trump has become a national populist phenomenon that few had predicted would be successful. He relates to the disenfranchised white worker in the ways that Clinton could not. Realignment is too dull of a word to describe the political transformation he has created in the U.S. – he has tapped much of the same emotions of voters that Ronald Reagan did in 1980 – and now unprecedented majorities at virtually all levels of government will be in GOP hands.

    Some critics compare it to the rise of Adolf Hitler – and in a way they are correct – Hitler’s Nazism was purely grassroots in the very beginning in the 1920s – celebrating veterans and the disenfranchised German and an assault upon the leftist power structure that controlled the Weimar Republic. Trump – whose ethnic roots are Bavarian – likely has some affinity to the same militaristic sympathies as those that had formed the predicate of Nazism. That said, the constitutional system of checks and balances in the U.S. will prevent Trump from going overboard on some of his most extreme pronouncements – e.g. registering Muslims.

    I believe that Trump – much like Ronald Reagan – has an opportunity to be one of America’s most beloved presidents.

  16. The media and the press will soon be treating our first feral president as if he were completely normal. They crave the access as much as Trump craves the adulation of his followers.

  17. The primary interest of the press for at least the last 40 years has been saying the things that will get them “access” so they can be first with the “news” and be envied and praised by their colleagues and invited to all the right parties. Allowing misstatements, distortions, evasions and outright lies to go unchallenged is standard fare. It was true with Obama, and Bush and Clinton. Mostly though, they simply allow the interviewees to ignore the question and proceed directly to whatever talking point they are interested in making that day. There is nothing more boring or less informative than watching media newspeople interviewing each other and fawning over each others knowledge and skill.

  18. In a world where, the natural and popular leader of the left , was as you say “virtually boycotted” by the media, a widely hated buffoon is given billions of dollars of free air, time takes power, after winning election he’s been busily hatching crude schemes to peddle influence through his children. It reminds me of Jake LaMotta smashing gems out of his Championship belt in Raging Bull.

    I would feel safe saying the media, and the people who own the media, gave the presidency to Trump, I’m sure they feel comfort knowing theocrat Mike Pence, supported by some of the most reactionary people in the world is ready to step in if need be…..

  19. I agree that Trump’s statements and cabinet picks do not auger well for our democratic ideals, and are a step towards neo-fascism (if not there already). That said, the tendency to view Trump’s ideas as a complete aberration in our democratic process is also unreasonable. The slow slide to fascistic tendencies was long apparent in legislature that was passed by Bush II, and then the rise of the xenophobic tea-party. Trump is set to inherit executive powers and nearly unlimited eavesdropping capabilities from Obama that should and could have been curtailed. We just trusted Obama with these vast powers, but now that Trump is set to inherit these same unconstitutional powers, we see the error in our ways.

    It’s this blind trust in our party’s leader (Democratic or Republican) that makes ordinarily educated and thoughtful individuals give up their constitutional rights for party loyalty and gains. We should argue and fight for our constitutional rights and ideals. These rights and ideals were also harmed, unfortunately, during the Obama administration, but few commentators noticed or wrote about it. Trump definitely will erode our constitution even further and more precipitously, which is catastrophic…

  20. The media had their part to play, but the Democratic Party was helping them focus on Trump (they thought he was so bad, even Hillary could beat him). They also sabotaged Bernie Sanders in many ways. Don’t forget the USA was born on a genocide of the indigenous people. That may have started the rot.

  21. “All we can do is resist normalization, first of all in our own minds and then in our social circles and on social media.”

    That won’t accomplish much. You would need to contribute to a viable alternative, with an eye on denying Republicans a Senate majority in 2018 or 2020 as a backup. This means a national Democratic party more along the lines of Sanders / Ellison and less along the lines of Clinton. Otherwise all the harsh words will do is make Trump voters rally around their leader leading to continued electoral losses. (which should’ve been obvious after the past year, but I guess it’s not obvious enough).

    • definitely 2020… not enough vulnerable Republican Senate seats are on the table in 2018 (and quite a few vulnerable Democrat seats actually – a replay of this year’s swing states with D incumbents).

  22. Those who want to weaken Trump and eventually be victorious over him would do well to read (or re-read) Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”.

    Master Sun counsels us to divide and thus conquer. This means separating Trump from his own counselors and Cabinet members, separating him from the Republican majorities in the House and the Senate and separating him from the people who elected him.

    In this respect, Master Sun says: “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”

    In the case of Trump, Master Sun recommends a simple strategy: “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”

    He must be goaded to anger and to 3:00 a.m. tweets. He must be lured to go too far and falling into the trap of showing the world his weakness of character, his malignant narcissism and his delusions of grandeur.

    Simply calling him a monster or a fascist will not have the desired result. He must be enticed to show himself for who and what he really is in a way that will turn his own supporters against him. We must tempt him in ways that will lead to his own self-destruction.

    Trump’s own hubris can be used to bring him down.
    “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

  23. I have taught Western Civilization at the University of Iowa for nearly 40 years, and every year I talk about the history of Fascism. Fascists believed in one-party government, sent armed thugs into the streets to beat up their opponents, and shut down all critical media. To call Donald Trump a Fascist is like calling Franklin D. Roosevelt a Communist. Trump is a home-grown racist, misogynist, immigrant-hating, religious bigot, all of which have deep roots in American history and society. That is bad enough without misusing basic categories of historical analysis.

    • Professor, I have nothing but respect for your credentials and your basic facts. However, I must ask: Which of those aspects of fascism would Trump eschew were he in a position to undertake it? One essential aspect of fascism you omit (oversight I’m sure) is Führerprinzip which is a major part of Trump’s program as expressed during the campaign.

    • I agreed with you and argued with Professor Cole over this until the Republican convention, in particular, Trump’s acceptance speech. His listing of grievances and so-called problems plaguing this country followed by the statement that “only I can fix this” was a classic fascist statement. While Trump doesn’t yet have his brown shirts, etc. in many ways he epitomizes the philosophy of fascism–the extreme nationalism, autarky, the expression of the will of the people (volk) through one man, the stifling of dissent and the singling out of minorities as the cause of our supposed ills, are all right out of the fascist play book.

    • “racist, misogynist, immigrant-hating, religious bigot, all of which have deep roots in American history and society”

      But all of this for the first time is coming up against the demographic inevitability of Whites losing their majority status. And yes, right-wing Whites are very aware of that though the media rarely confronts them about their plans to deal with it. For the first time free and representative elections are a threat to White society nationally, not just in the Reconstruction South, though what resulted there certainly provides tools for their intellectual heirs. One-party government, armed thugs in the street, Jim Crow was built on that. So those are reasonable responses to a homegrown racist. And they hate the media far more than their 1876 forebears, so censorship won’t be hard to sell.

      But they will have to go further this time because they are grasping at levers of national power to accomplish what Jim Crow could not – a Final Solution. Meaning the Constitution, the very definition of a citizen, the official recognition that we are all equal (or not) before the law. They have to make their leap to fascism while Trump has welcomed them to do so by obliterating the usual conservative “we’re nothing like the Nazis” memes based on free markets, limited government, and sincere theocracy. All that’s left is gun ownership, but the military power of guns is in who is allowed to organize and train in their use. It will not be hard to create double standards against non-White militias so that White militias will be as dominant as the KKK or the Brownshirts.

      It comes down to the grassroots response among Whites to Trump’s sadistic policies. No, America is not as political a culture as Germany, where hyper-organized parties that define ways of life were already a thing by Hitler’s time. But we do have religions carrying on that activity to an extent, with their own alternate reality and economy and media and especially schools, and the more of them that ally with Trump, the more they can impose control over the next generation as Betsy DeVos sabotages public schools in their favor.

    • Professor – “Fascists believed in one-party government, sent armed thugs into the streets to beat up their opponents, and shut down all critical media.” – Give the Trump administration some time? All of the basic elements are in place. The title will be earned. Wait until the round-up of MILLIONS gets underway?

      • Note that Nazism was a thoroughly-discredited political ideology after the end of WWII and Mussolini’s fascism only made a minor comeback in Italy, but the extreme dictatorship of Francisco Franco’s Spain enjoyed relative post WWII success, and his legacy of Francoism was adopted by many Latin American leaders – including Chilean dictator Gen. Pinochet.

  24. .
    Take all the time you need to mourn your loss.
    But as long as you tell yourselves that Trump supporters were bamboozled,
    you will not understand what hit you.
    Trump supporters knew what they were voting for.
    And what they were voting against.
    Analyze that.
    When your standard-bearer termed them a “basket of deplorables,”
    she revealed that she knew what she was up against.
    She knew then that she had lost.
    Why didn’t she tell her devoted followers to vote for someone else ? She could have chosen the next President, from among those on the ballot.
    In fact, she did.

    • On the Right, there are no doubt Trump supporters who are bigoted, chauvinist and totalitarian, but it’s ridiculous for people on the left to believe all of them were or even that those narrow values catapaulted him to victory. Voters for Obama in 2008 and 2012 voted for CHANGE again with Trump. That shows how deeply vilatile the electorate is. I think Obama is right – he could have won by running against the Republican elite (Senate and House obstructionists) in his own more populist campaign. It’s actually what the statistics coming out of the industrial states. I agree: for the Left to disbelieve Trump’s win and continue to mourn Clinton’s loss is a recipe for abandoning the future. American politics is more like quick sand these days than set in stone.

    • Brian – A “but-but-but Clinton” worthy of Limbaugh himself, congrats.

      Trump won because of stupid citizens NOT voting or voting their h8.

  25. Welcome aboard the Terror Bus 2017, Juan. Was Mussolini back so far? Did he start disappearing and killing people right off? Trump I’m sure will commit assassination by Twitter soon- nobody has ever had a pool of 20-40 mil fanatic followers resistant to fact, news, reason, science.
    THE LAST DAYS OF THE REPUBLIC?- How Far Will the Demagogue Go?
    link to

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