What the hell is so attractive about fascism?

Absolutely. The social dynamics can explain(*) who is vulnerable to the PR. But proper organized illiberal authoritarianism, never mind fascism, takes deliberate effort (as opposed to just feral populism where anyone promises anything and everyone flails out every which way and you get zero net motion).

And that bears remembering – that among the susceptible target populations is the industrial working class. It turns out that, I’m sure much to the chagrin of the old-school marxists and anarchists, when that group gets ticked off at the elites and moneymen, they are just as if not more likely to follow the rightwing nationalist-populists (partly because they don’t ask you to change your culture and accept it’s ok that your son can become your daughter and stop believing in Jesus) than go left.

As mentioned before,

…or that they’re out of work altogether, or relegated to work that does not make you a living.

Now throw into that not just the rurals and the old-industrials, but also the suburban parents who are wooed with harkening to a time when The Streets Were Safe For The Children. Can’t forget that target sector.

(* here we reiterate a favorite refrain of mine: explanation is not justification)

You make it sound like the populace are robots who think, say and do whatever the master programmers who can most successfully hack them command. If that is true then democracy was never anything more than an illusion, and the idea that the populace- yokels included- should be allowed agency is an absurdity. That’s exactly the sort of Wilsonian technocracy that the pro-Trump people are rebelling against.

well, if crime–or their perception of it–becomes so bad that they don’t feel safe outside the house, or even inside, then I could see people giving up some freedoms in order to feel safe. and idea that if you’re innocent why object to monitoring?

Explanation is not determination, either. As Slithy_Tove stated, it’s not “inevitable social dynamics”.

Noting points of vulnerability is not the same as asserting that the vulnerable are doomed to fall for a skillful enough exploit.

However since there are too many who just jump straight on to “oh they’re just ignorant bigots, f—- them!” it is worthwhile to explore where is it the propaganda is aimed, in order to contest it.

Welcome to the entirety of human history.

The Churchill-attributed aphorism about democracy applies here.

“Do Trump supporters understand the concept of rebelling against Wilsonian technocracy?”

“In the red states from which his voters come, M’Lud, they speak of little else.”

Except that the populist Right proposes an alternate strategy: allow people to own guns and use them in lawful self-defense. Which is why among the many planks of the Left’s platform that the populist Right objects to is the vendetta against firearms ownership. To be told that no, citizens shouldn’t own the means of self-defense, no one should ever be punished with death (certainly not for the crime of mere property appropriation), that the robberies, assaults, rapes and murders that criminals commit are doubtless distressing but ultimately should be addressed by social reform rather than mere barbaric violence- this strikes the populists as an example of creating a problem and then proposing half-baked solutions to it worthy of the savants of Swift’s Flying Island of Laputa: at best imbecility and at worst a sinister plot to destabilize and then seize control of society

That’s a rather long-winded way of saying “The populist Right wants to be able to shoot anyone they want and get away with it”.

No it’s not.

The extrajudicial punishing with death of the crime of “mere property appropriation”, including robberies with no injury or threat of injury, is in no fucking way self-defense.

Because no robbery has ever wound up with the victims dead as well as robbed.

I guess if I’m being robbed I’m supposed to ask the robber if he intents to injure or kill me before defending myself. And trust a person that’s so evil that he’s robbing me in the first place. Because I’m sure a person that’s that nice of a person would never lie to me, no no no.

I guess if there’s a home invader kicking down my door, I’m supposed to invite themt to sit down for coffee and question if they want to kill me or just take my TV before I go get the rifle in my closet.

Lynching is very very attractive for the same reason facism is. It’s a strong fantasy for people with urges for vengeance.

If you can’t see a distinction between lawful legitimate self-defense versus vigilantism and lynching, then you’ll never understand why the Democrats don’t get more support.

You use those strawmen for target shooting?

You’ve moved the goalposts quite dramatically here from “theft” to “imminent threat”. Nobody is saying that you can’t defend yourself against someone actually threatening you. But that’s not “mere property appropriation”, is it? And why did you exclude the vast, vast middle between “killing someone who might be a threat… or might not” and “offering them coffee”? Frankly I’m not sure you or Lumpy see the distinction between “lawful legitimate self-defense” and “vigilantism and lynching”.

But that does bring us nicely back on topic - fear of the Other is indeed a strong component of fascism and is used to justify all sorts of violence. I mean, Jews were portrayed as an imminent – indeed, a full-on existential – threat to all good, decent, law-abiding Germans (Italians, etc). So what should they have done in the face of such an overwhelming threat? Ask them to sit down for coffee?

Fascism makes you feel safe from the danger they’ve convinced you you face, whether it’s real and material or not.

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

–John Kenneth Galbraith

Trump – like other RW demagogues – has tremendous appeal to the mouth-breathers, because he tells them that they shouldn’t have to care about less fortunate people, the planet, the environment, or minorities.

He doesn’t ask them to be ‘better people’ in any way, shape or form, the way that most past Presidents have. He encourages them to be proud of their baser instincts and worst qualities.

In short, he applauds them for their “religiosity” while simultaneously absolving them from any need to actually be decent human beings.

Also, a worthwhile and quick read:

IMHO that’s the paradox of fascism. These people are being cheated, and the system is rigged. But they aren’t being cheated by an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala cleaning toilets for two dollars an hour. They aren’t being cheated by the typical transgender person* just trying to live their lives and get by as well as they can. They aren’t being cheated by a Black person* who through their own merits, after having external barriers to their progress removed, made it in to law school. Instead, they’re being cheated by people like Trump *(and yes, a few people from historically oppressed communities like Caitlyn Jenner and Clarence Thomas). Why they can’t figure that out is the big mystery.