Purveyor of Truth
A new Gallup Poll on March 11th shows just how unpopular Donald J. Trump is among Hispanics.
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Presidential candidate Donald Trump has a major image problem among U.S. Hispanics, with 77% saying they view him unfavorably and just 12% viewing him favorably. This gives Trump by far the most negative image among Hispanics of any of the four Republican candidates. He also has a much more negative image among Hispanics than the two Democratic candidates. SOURCE
Trump's recent message that he is going to be a unifier certainly hasn't resonated with Hispanics. It is easy to understand why given his xenophobia and nationalist rhetoric.
Moving on to a related issue concerning Trump and his political resemblance to a previous era in history. Fedja Buric has an excellent article in this past Friday's SALON in which he draws many analogies between Mussolini's fascism and what he terms as Trumpism. A detailed and well thought out article Buric makes it startling clear why people of reason and good judgement, whatever their political party or ideology may be, should unite and do everything they can to stop Trump.
Following are a few excerpts from the article as teasers for those who wish to better understand what is driving Trump and Trumpism.
Like Mussolini, Trump rails against intruders (Mexicans) and enemies (Muslims), mocks those perceived as weak, encourages a violent reckoning with those his followers perceive as the enemy within (the roughing up of protesters at his rallies), flouts the rules of civil political discourse (the Megyn Kelly menstruation spat), and promises to restore the nation to its greatness not by a series of policies, but by the force of his own personality (“I will be great for” fill in the blank).much more BELOW THE FOLD.
To quote Paxton again, this time from his seminal “The Anatomy of Fascism”: “Fascist leaders made no secret of having no program.” This explains why Trump supporters are not bothered by his ideological malleability and policy contradictions: He was pro-choice before he was pro-life; donated to politicians while now he rails against that practice; married three times and now embraces evangelical Christianity; is the embodiment of capitalism and yet promises to crack down on free trade. In the words of the Italian writer Umberto Eco, fascism was “a beehive of contradictions.” It bears noting that Mussolini was a socialist unionizer before becoming a fascist union buster, a journalist before cracking down on free press, a republican before becoming a monarchist.
Like Mussolini, Trump is dismissive of democratic institutions. He selfishly guards his image of a self-made outsider who will “dismantle the establishment” in the words of one of his supporters. That this includes cracking down on a free press by toughening libel laws, engaging in the ethnic cleansing of 11 million people (“illegals”), stripping away citizenship of those seen as illegitimate members of the nation (children of the “illegals”), and committing war crimes in the protection of the nation (killing the families of suspected terrorists) only enhances his stature among his supporters. The discrepancy between their love of America and these brutal and undemocratic methods does not bother them one iota. To borrow from Paxton again: “Fascism was an affair of the gut more than of the brain.” For Trump and his supporters, the struggle against “political correctness” in all its forms is more important than the fine print of the Constitution.
To be fair, there are many differences between Italian Fascism of interwar Europe and Trumpism of (soon to be) post-Obama America. For one, Mussolini was better read and more articulate than Trump. Starting out as a schoolteacher, the Italian Fascist read voraciously and was heavily influenced by the German and French philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Marie Guyau, respectively. I doubt Trump would know who either of these two people were. According to the Boston Globe, Trump speaks at the level of a fourth grader.
There are other more consequential differences, of course: the interwar Italy was a much bigger mess than the USA is today; the democratic institutions of this country are certainly more resilient and durable than those of the young unstable post-World War I Italy; the economy, both U.S. and worldwide, is not in the apocalyptic state it was in the interwar period; and the demographics of the USA mitigate against the election of a racist demagogue. So, Trump’s blackshirts are not marching on Washington, yet.
The Very Fascist Origins of Trumpism
That white supremacist groups back Donald Trump for president of the United States, and his slowness to disavow the support of David Duke, all illuminate the fascistic origins of Trump the phenomenon. In fact, Paxton acknowledges that while Fascism began in France and Italy, “the first version of the Klan in the defeated American south was arguably a remarkable preview of the way fascist movements were to function in interwar Europe.” That the KKK was drawn to the Trump candidacy, and that he refused to disavow them speak volumes about his fascistic roots.
Like Fascism, Trumpism has come about on the heels of a protracted period of ideological restlessness. Within the Republican Party this restlessness has resulted in a complete de-legitimization of the so-called GOP establishment.