You’ve probably seen this by now?
An Exhausted Democracy: Donald Trump and the New American Nationalism: Is America capable of preventing Donald Trump from coming to power? Although the candidate is himself no fascist, his campaign has certainly shown plenty of parallels.
. . . “The use of ethnic stereotypes and exploitation of fear of foreigners is directly out of the fascist’s recipe book,” fascism expert Robert Paxton recently told the online magazine Slate. According to Paxton, Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” sounds exactly like the slogans of fascist movements. . . .
. . . This aggressive nationalism is paired with an absurd authoritarianism. Indeed, there is something operatic about Trump promising his voters that after he wins the election, his first official act will be to call the CEO of Ford and force him to move his auto plants from Mexico back to the United States within 48 hours . . .
Or perhaps you’ve seen Robert Kagan’s piece in the Washington Post:
This is how fascism comes to America. . . We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies — his proposals change daily. What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking or ridiculing a wide range of “others” — Muslims, Hispanics, women, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Arabs, immigrants, refugees — whom he depicts either as threats or as objects of derision. His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up. . . .
In this context, Trump’s bedside reading may not be completely irrelevant.
My fear is that people will vote for him simply out of fascination to see how it will all turn out. We love a good story, even if it’s a disaster film.
Maybe a strongman really can come in and just destroy ISIS in a few weeks, as he says he will. (He knows how to do it but hasn’t shared this knowledge with the Pentagon because he doesn’t want ISIS destroyed yet. And he might not share it if we don’t elect him, because why should he if he’s not president?)
Maybe a strongman really can win a trade war with China and force Apple to pay a million Americans $40,000 a year to replace a million Chinese working for $5,000. (But with the price of Apple products suddenly gone through the roof, why wouldn’t consumers simply buy smart phones for half the price made in China by someone else?) (And instead of $40,000, might Apple pay only the $7.25-an-hour minimum wage Trump thinks is already too high?)
We are the victims, living under the boot of terrible deals made with the Mexicans and Chinese, much as Depression-era Germans once suffered under the terrible deals made to end World War I.
But if we have someone finally strong enough to stand up to Mexico, we can make America great again.
It’s hard not to get carried away with sarcasm, so I’ll stop — with this plea:
We need all of you to rush out a slew of imaginative blockbusters through which to live out four years of Trump on screen without having to live them out for real.
The ultimate, “Let”s not and say we did.”
Scenes of the Mexicans politely declining to pay for the wall, and the Donald turning red in the face as he belitttles Mexico’s president (intercut quick takes of his demeaning nicknames for other world leaders) . . . of Congress blocking imposition of 45% tariffs (or, worse still, acceding to them) . . . of his threatening default on our Debt so convincingly that some short-seller is able to ignite a global panic that sends today’s tepid economy into a true tailspin (how quickly we forget what really bad economic times are) . . . of his vowing to get the 2018 version of Bin Laden “dead or alive” (but failing to do so) . . . of his taking the bait of Islamic terrorists and — with the most patriotic of intentions — leading us into a war even than more disastrous than the one that our last MBA-son-of-a-wealthy-Republican-who-won-the-White-House-without-being-able-to-name-the-president-of-Pakistan-(which-we -kinda-liked-because-we-couldn’t-either) gave us.
Bernie and Donald and Hillary — and you and I — are all correct: the country is not where it should be. Its infrastructure is crumbling. The middle class is struggling. Student debt is crushing. Inequality has become obscene.
But don’t blame the Mexicans or the Chinese or our “stupid, stupid leaders” for this.
It’s much more direct than that.
Blame the people who blocked the American Jobs Act that would have created millions of good jobs revitalizing infrastructure. Blame the people who slashed tax rates on billionaires while blocking increases to the minimum wage. Blame the people who refuse to allow federal student debt to be refinanced at today’s low rates.
There is a simple solution the other side desperately doesn’t want justifiably frustrated Americans to see: Just tell all those obstructionists November 8: “You’re fired.” And, while you’re at it, elect a well-respected world leader — like our current president or his Democratic predecessor — president.
Millions will be employed rebuilding our infrastructure . . . wages will rise . . . college will become more affordable . . . it will be become easier to vote but harder to buy guns without a background check . . . and the world will breathe a huge sign of relief that America is back, broken free from its gridlock, once again leading the world in a steady, rational way.