Half of Americans see “fascist undertones” in the Donald Trump campaign according to a Huffpost/YouGov poll released this week. I would go further and say that in this election, we are facing a choice for the first time in American history to vote for or against fascism assuming control of the U.S. presidency. Donald Trump is the face of American fascism. I don’t know if those polled know what fascism means, but as a student of political science and history, I know the meaning of the word in its common ideology and how fascist dictatorship has damaged our world historically. The common elements of fascism as an ideology have been these: appeal to authoritarian absolutism, violence as a means of assuming and maintaining power and order and eliminating or intimidating political opponents, racism as a means of scapegoating and targeting ethnic and religious minorities, misogynistic patriarchy as a means of subjugating and dominating the female population.
In the case of Donald Trump they can be found in his behavior and his communications as a political candidate. From the point of joining the “birtherism” movement to the present, he has systematically attacked the legitimacy of the presidency of Barack Obama. He has dismissed the rule of national and international law if it gets in the way of his desire to institute torture or eliminate entire populations of civilians on the battlefield. He has been emphatic in his hatred of Latino immigrants as “rapists and murderers” who deserve only mass deportation. He has targeted all Muslims as enemies of America to be gotten rid of, eliminating any further entry into the U.S. He has called African Americans “lazy” and welcomed the support of overtly racist white supremacist leaders and organization. His central theme is “to make America great again,” suggesting that ethnic and religious minorities have betrayed and undermined America’s standing in the world.