Trump & Co. are not fascists.

Trump & Co. includes:

[li]Trump[/li][li]Bannon[/li][li]Conway[/li][li]Miller[/li][li]Preibus[/li][li]Spicer[/li][li]Various other minions that come and go[/li][/ul]

All can be, and often are, described by a long list of invective laced negative attributes. The great majority of which, in my opinion, are well deserved.

But here’s what they are not, not yet anyway:


It doesn’t help my side (liberals and Democrats) to overstate the case by accusing Trump & Co of being that which they are not.
[li]Not because we risk running out of effective negative rhetoric. [/li][li]Not because they have not shown certain tendencies towards the above descriptors.[/li][li]Not because highly critical characterization risk upsetting them and/or their supporters.[/li][/ul]

The reason it’s not helpful is because words have meaning and overstatements tend to make our argument less effective in the long run.

I submit the best way to characterize Trump & Co.'s approach thus far is: Authoritarian.


In addition, we’ve spent enough time gnashing our teeth and expressing our disgust with Trump & Co to the exclusion of everything else. I think we should continue to point out their many failures and shortcoming,s but I think it’s also time for the Democratic party to start putting forward their own constructive solutions and policies. It’s not enough to simply mock this administration and Republican policies. I think the way to rebuild the Democratic Party and the liberal ideas it stands for is to state them clearly and emphatically. The sooner that begins, the better.

Yeah, I agree. It detracts from real discussion when folks try and play the fascist or Nazi card.

Yeah, Trump isn’t a fascist, he’s just a populist authoritarian interventionist with ethno-nationalist tendencies. Couldn’t be further apart.

Words morph in meaning. It’s possible for “fascist”, over time, to become shorthand for “authoritarian”.

If you asked the “person on the street”: is Putin fascist? is Erdogan? is Assad? What would they say? I think language is in transition here. I do agree though, that it’s poor to use in an argument - because it is imprecise given the currently-evolving language, and allows the other side to switch to pedantry too easily and say “that’s not technically fascism” instead of addressing the argument in question. However, it also behooves a would-be pedant to recognize the meaning from context, and discuss the issue without said pedantry.

It’s also possible to talk about specific techniques that accompanied the rise of fascism in the 1930s (identification of ethnic enemies, denigration of institutions such as press and judiciary, etc.), and several of these comparisons may be apt. But these also accompanied the rise of non-fascist authoritarian regimes.

Given U.S. history and culture, I’d personally opt for the return of “tyranny” and “tyrant”.

Is this thread a parody of the right-wing line about "we can’t defeat terrorists unless we use accurate words like “radical Islamic terrorism?” Only in this case it is, "We can’t defeat the Trump Administration unless we use accurate words like “authoritarian?”

I can’t see how any of this matters.

Just because the system prevents them, doesn’t mean they’re not in their cold, black hearts.

“Incompetent buffoon” works for me.

Good post, QuickSilver. Are they authoritarian? That’s a good question. Enforcing current law and wanting a wall doesn’t mean authoritarian to me. How things are governed potentially would.

I don’t think the US is very susceptible to an authoritarian ruler at this point in history. There are too many strong and competing institutions. In other words, power is too diffused. Now, if Trump manages to establish a paramilitary and a secret police that even the US military is cowed by than I’ll agree. But I think the checks and balance will keep authoritarian acts pretty low. Now authoritarian impulses are harder to determine. I have no idea what is between The Donald’s ears.

Exactly. I think the point is to actually debate or discuss the real issues, instead of using loaded language. The thing is, the use of ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ has been so overused that it’s losing it’s meaning today. It seems to be the equivalent now of calling someone who is a lefty or liberal a ‘communist’…and has about the same impact due to it’s over/mis-use.

It’s a shame, really, because it dilutes the evil of real communists and fascists.

QuickSilver correctly identifies “that’s racist!!1!” fatigue as counterproductive.

There are people who want to see Trump called out as a racist, and would be upset if the opposition was too afraid to use that word.

There isn’t going to be one way of talking about the President. As long as the 60% of Americans who think he’s doing a bad job speak about him accurately, there’s no reason to censor their criticisms.

Trump, Miller and Bannon specifically, have overstepped the line of simply wanting to “enforce current law”.

They have called into question the right of free speech in media, called those who disagree with them “enemies”, and said the final authority lies with the president.

To me, those are authoritarian policies. They can certainly lead to much worse forms of government, but we’re talking about what they are, not what they may become if the current system of checks and balances is not enforced.

No one is doing any censoring.

I think it’s fair to call Trump & Co. out as racists with respect to their comments, and defense of same, about Muslims, Mexicans, etc.

Also, let’s not hide the exact parallel: the label of “socialist” as a term of denigration with which conservatives have very effectively and often inaccurately branded the liberals.

You think they don’t want to? Or that they wouldn’t if they had the opportunity?

In their cold black hearts, I think:

Trump is a kleptocrat
Pence is a religious right conservative
Bannon is a world burning anarchist (and a conspiracy loon)
Miller is a boot licking twerp
Preibus sold his soul
Spicer sold his soul for cheap
Conway gave her soul away

I think they all lack the charisma and the intellect to be anything more than that.

I don’t know. It’s difficult to get a read if they understand and value the concept of separation of power. I know once in power people tend to want more. However, do they really want to turn the USA into a tyrannical police state? I don’t get that feeling.

I honestly don’t know. And that was my biggest concern regarding Trump. The uncertainty is so high.

You didn’t notice the attacks on the courts or the press? Once you undermine something, it’s easier to tear it down.

He’s revived the whole “If the President does it, it’s not illegal”.

Remember the calls of “Lock her up!”? Remember who started that? Remember who encouraged the continued chanting at rallies?
Did you know it’s still going on now at his rallies?

That’s not the act of someone who’s “joking”.

Miller is absolutely a fascist. If someone starts issuing armbands he’ll be the first one to put one on.

Of course, some of these people are arguably not of any particular political stripe at all. Conway and Spicer are just talking heads.

Trump is certainly an authoritarian. Priebus may be.