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Compilation of Newspaper and Blog Articles on Donald Trump

CNN story on Trump and Fascism:
Why some conservatives say Trump talk is fascist
By MJ Lee, CNN Politics Reporter
Updated 1:02 PM ET, Wed November 25, 2015 | Video Source: CNN
[Click on URL to access the original article.]
This is how fascism comes to America
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally April 15 in
Plattsburgh, N.Y. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)
By Robert Kagan May 18 at 7:09 PM
Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing columnist
for The Post.
The Republican Partys attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate
would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the
partys conservative principles, all would be well.
But of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It
has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as
incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that
produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party.
Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number
of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion
and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.
And the source of allegiance? Were supposed to believe that Trumps 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.
Trump reads snake poem to discuss immigration, terrorism
Play Video2:55 [See video in original article.]
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump read a poem about a snake at a rally
in Ohio to discuss immigration and terrorism. (Reuters)
That this tough-guy, get-mad-and-get-even approach has gained him an increasingly
large and enthusiastic following has probably surprised Trump as much as it has
everyone else. Trump himself is simply and quite literally an egomaniac. But the
phenomenon he has created and now leads has become something larger than him,
and something far more dangerous.
Republican politicians marvel at how he has tapped into a hitherto unknown swath of
the voting public. But what he has tapped into is what the founders most feared when
they established the democratic republic: the popular passions unleashed, the
mobocracy. Conservatives have been warning for decades about government
suffocating liberty. But here is the other threat to liberty that Alexis de Tocqueville and
the ancient philosophers warned about: that the people in a democracy, excited, angry
and unconstrained, might run roughshod over even the institutions created to preserve
their freedoms. As Alexander Hamilton watched the French Revolution unfold, he feared
in America what he saw play out in France that the unleashing of popular passions
would lead not to greater democracy but to the arrival of a tyrant, riding to power on the
shoulders of the people.
This phenomenon has arisen in other democratic and quasi-democratic countries over
the past century, and it has generally been called fascism. Fascist movements, too,
had no coherent ideology, no clear set of prescriptions for what ailed society. National
socialism was a bundle of contradictions, united chiefly by what, and who, it opposed;
fascism in Italy was anti-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-Marxist, anti-capitalist and anticlerical. Successful fascism was not about policies but about the strongman, the leader
(Il Duce, Der Fuhrer), in whom could be entrusted the fate of the nation. Whatever the
problem, he could fix it. Whatever the threat, internal or external, he could vanquish it,
and it was unnecessary for him to explain how. Today, there is Putinism, which also has
nothing to do with belief or policy but is about the tough man who singlehandedly
defends his people against all threats, foreign and domestic.
To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the
Republican Party today. These movements play on all the fears, vanities, ambitions and
insecurities that make up the human psyche. In democracies, at least for politicians, the
only thing that matters is what the voters say they want vox populi vox dei. A mass
political movement is thus a powerful and, to those who would oppose it, frightening

weapon. When controlled and directed by a single leader, it can be aimed at whomever
the leader chooses. If someone criticizes or opposes the leader, it doesnt matter how
popular or admired that person has been. He might be a famous war hero, but if the
leader derides and ridicules his heroism, the followers laugh and jeer. He might be the
highest-ranking elected guardian of the partys most cherished principles. But if he
hesitates to support the leader, he faces political death.
In such an environment, every political figure confronts a stark choice: Get right with the
leader and his mass following or get run over. The human race in such circumstances
breaks down into predictable categories and democratic politicians are the most
predictable. There are those whose ambition leads them to jump on the bandwagon.
They praise the leaders incoherent speeches as the beginning of wisdom, hoping he
will reward them with a plum post in the new order. There are those who merely hope to
survive. Their consciences wont let them curry favor so shamelessly, so they mumble
their pledges of support, like the victims in Stalins show trials, perhaps not realizing that
the leader and his followers will get them in the end anyway.
A great number will simply kid themselves, refusing to admit that something very
different from the usual politics is afoot. Let the storm pass, they insist, and then we can
pick up the pieces, rebuild and get back to normal. Meanwhile, dont alienate the
leaders mass following. After all, they are voters and will need to be brought back into
the fold. As for Trump himself, lets shape him, advise him, steer him in the right
direction and, not incidentally, save our political skins.
What these people do not or will not see is that, once in power, Trump will owe them
and their party nothing. He will have ridden to power despite the party, catapulted into
the White House by a mass following devoted only to him. By then that following will
have grown dramatically. Today, less than 5 percent of eligible voters have voted for
Trump. But if he wins the election, his legions will comprise a majority of the nation.
Imagine the power he would wield then. In addition to all that comes from being the
leader of a mass following, he would also have the immense powers of the American
presidency at his command: the Justice Department, the FBI, the intelligence services,
the military. Who would dare to oppose him then? Certainly not a Republican Party that
laid down before him even when he was comparatively weak. And is a man like Trump,
with infinitely greater power in his hands, likely to become more humble, more judicious,
more generous, less vengeful than he is today, than he has been his whole life? Does
vast power un-corrupt?
[Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Republican presidential
candidate Donald Trump and the GOP will find common ground ahead of the general
election. (Reuters)]
This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there
have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony
billionaire, a textbook egomaniac tapping into popular resentments and insecurities,
and with an entire national political party out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or
simply out of fear falling into line behind him.

Robert Kagan writes a monthly foreign affairs column for The Post, and is a senior
fellow at the Brookings Institution. Kagan served in the State Department from 1984 to
Why you should stop calling Donald Trump a fascist
The inside track on Washington politics.
By Max Ehrenfreund

December 4, 2015

"Fascist" is often used as a cheap, meaningless insult in U.S. politics. But recently, it's
become a serious charge that elected officials, political operatives and pundits on both
sides of the aisle have lobbed at GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
After Trump suggested he'd back a federal registry for Muslims residents, Wall Street
Journal conservative columnist Bret Stephens called the idea "fascism, plain and
simple." Recounting Trumps passive responses to violence committed by his
supporters, CNN commentator Sally Kohn said on Wednesday, Theres a word for this:
Max Boot, a scholar of foreign affairs who is advising Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), was
more direct:
Some of Trump's rhetoric does invoke the tyrannical speeches of fascist leaders
of the past. Asked about his plans to track American Muslims, Trump ominously
told Yahoo News last month, "Certain things will be done that we never thought
would happen in this country."
But the key aspects of fascism are at odds with Trump's persona and his message. For
all his bluster, a President Trump wouldn't pursue the authoritarian, collectivist agenda
that characterized Germany's Nazi Party and Italy's Benito Mussolini, at least not
according to what he's said so far about his political views. Calling Trump a fascist risks
misleading voters about his agenda, which is not that much different from that of his
rivals for the GOP presidential nod.
These are just a few of the major differences between Trump and the fascists of history:
1. Trumps message is individualist
One common characteristic of fascist regimes was their insistence on collective rather
than individual identity. Fascist leaders believed the life of the nation as a whole took

precedence over the lives of the people who made it up, imposing a brutal uniformity on
the lives of their citizens.
"The Italian nation is an organism, having aims, life and means of action superior to
those of the single or grouped individuals who compose it," stated Mussolini's Labor
Charter in 1927.
That vision of a unified state conflicted with the complicated reality of European
countries, which diverse religious, racial and ethnic communities called home. Fascist
leaders tried to eliminate these differences. Members of disfavored groups lost their
legal identities, rights and citizenship if not their lives. Even favored groups were
subjected to oppressive discipline.
[Read more: Donald Trump is polling better than ever. Here's why.]
Under Mussolini, for instance, every Italian schoolchild was required to join a youth
organization where they imbibed fascist propaganda and militaristic training. Teachers
swore an oath to the fascist regime. The party took over sports, such as bocce, which
were transformed from a form of casual recreation into a means for the Italian nation to
improve and excel.
Like Trump, these leaders gained followers by giving long, angry speeches that blamed
the country's problems on foreigners. They addressed their rhetoric to a frustrated
middle class, describing them as victims of internal and external enemies.
In this way, some of the conditions that allow fascist ideology to take hold exist in the
United States, said Robert Paxton, a leading American scholar of fascism. Americans'
belief that hard work brings material rewards has prevented radical movements and
politicians from taking power, he said. For the past 15 years, however, income for the
typical household has declined, leading some Americans to lose confidence in the
existing political system.
[See graphic in the original article.]
"A sense of victimhood is absolutely essential" to the rise of fascism, Paxton said, "and I
think that's very strong in America today."
Trump, though, is not a fascist, according to Paxton. The candidate's message lacks the
collectivist element that was common to many fascist regimes. Individual ambition is a
crucial part of the story he tells voters about himself as a successful, self-interested
2. Trump doesnt oppose democracy
Trump also does not oppose constitutional government and representative democracy,
another crucial trait of historical fascists. The militaristic societies they formed couldnt
tolerate dissent and debate. Differences of opinion contradict the fascist idea of a
collective identity.

The Nazi philosopher Carl Schmitt, for instance, contended that parliaments couldn't
truly represent the will of a united people, only various opposed factions. Instead,
Schmitt wrote, a dictator would speak on the people's behalf with one voice.
[Read more: It's not just Donald Trump: Half of Republicans his views on immigrants
and refugees]
Fascist leaders threw out existing national constitutions, replacing representative
government with dictatorships that brutally suppressed dissent. They used paramilitary
organizations to intimidate their political opponents.
Trump recently defended the behavior of supporters who assaulted a protester at one of
his rallies, saying Maybe he should have been roughed up. But thats still a far cry
from the mass suppression of dissent typical of fascist movements and regimes. Trump
isnt supporting a systematic campaign of intimidation. And he hasn't called for
suspending the U.S. Constitution or pledged to arrogate legislative power to himself if
he wins the presidency.
3. Trump doesn't support a fascist welfare state
The platforms of fascist parties were fiercely anti-capitalist. In 1920, the Nazi Party's
Twenty-Five Points, for instance called for the confiscation of income from capital gains,
the nationalization of industries and "an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare."
Once in power, fascists typically collaborated with the economic elite to achieve their
military aims, and they banned unions independent of the party. But their written
principles certainly would have affronted Trumps capitalist ideals.
Trump is somewhat more liberal on economic issues than some of his competitors for
the GOP nod. He opposes reductions in Social Security, for example. In general,
though, Trump boasts about being a wealthy businessman, and his tax proposals are
typical of the Republican Party he'd substantially reduce taxes for the rich.
4. Trumps positions are similar to other GOP candidates
Trump's rhetoric is extreme and colorful, but on taxes and other issues, his platform is
similar in substance to those of his GOP rivals and in accord with the opinions of rankand-file Republicans. Calling Trump a fascist suggests there's something special about
him that distinguishes him from the rest of the party.
For example, many of the GOP candidates criticized Trump for proposing a registry for
Muslims, but fellow candidate Ben Carson's proposal went even further: a database that
would not discriminate against Muslims explicitly but would instead include every single
person in the country.
Likewise, when Trump suggested that law enforcement should close certain mosques to
prevent Islamist terrorism, Rubio suggested that Trump's proposal wasn't broad
enough. "It's not about closing down mosques. It's about closing down any place,

whether it's a cafe, a diner, an Internet site, any place where radicals are being
inspired," he told Megyn Kelly of Fox News.
On other issues, such as abortion, climate change, and monetary policy, Trump's
opinions are also in line with his party. While his presentation may be unusual for a U.S.
presidential candidate, his policies are not. Trump is a Republican, not a fascist.
Trumpism: Made in Europe
By E.J. Dionne Jr. Opinion writer May 25
PHOTO: Supporters of Norbert Hofer, presidential candidate of the right-wing populist
Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Oesterreichs, or FPOe), in Vienna on
Sunday. (Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images)
Heres the irony of Donald Trumps America First, immigrant-bashing, free-tradeaverse, make-us-great-again nationalism: It is a European import.
The American right has typically been anti-government, reverent of the Constitution,
suspicious of political strongmen and resolute in insisting that American
exceptionalism makes us different from other nations.
But Trumpism is not an American original. Almost every plank in the candidates
vaguely defined platform is derivative of the European far right. It is gaining ground on
the basis of opposition to immigration, fears of terrorism and crime, economic
nationalism, and promises of a government wielding a muscular hand against the forces
of disorder.
While one would like to think that the copycat nature of Trumps ideology will, in the
coming months, make it increasingly less attractive to American voters, his rise is no
less disturbing for being emblematic of whats happening across so many democracies.
Trumps emergence is a symptom of a larger democratic distemper roiling the worlds
political parties on the center-right and center-left that have underwritten free
government since 1945.
Right-wing candidate narrowly loses Austrian presidential election
Play Video1:26
Austrian politician Alexander van der Bellen defeated his far right opponent by a very
narrow margin - 0.6 percent - in the country's presidential election. (Reuters)

For all their differences, these parties have shared a commitment to institutions that
combined liberty with welfare; created a reasonably well-distributed prosperity;
respected the power of democratic government to do good but also accepted its limits;
and embraced the need for compromise.
The weakness of these parties was brought home dramatically this week in Austria
where Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party that has explicit roots
in the Nazi past, nearly won the countrys presidency.
Yes, it was good news that Hofer was edged out by Alexander Van der Bellen, who was
backed by the Green Party. But Van der Bellens margin was unsettlingly small he
won 50.3 percent of the vote to Hofers 49.7 percent.
The fact that the alternative to the far right came from the Greens reflected the decline
of the two parties dominant in Austrian politics since World War II. The candidates of the
center-right Peoples Party and the center-left Social Democrats didnt even make the
runoff. Between them, they mustered only 22.4 percent in the first round of voting.
Imagine a U.S. election in which Republicans and Democrats were, together, reduced
to little more than one-fifth of the total.
The voting patterns in Austria closely resembled those visible on our side of the Atlantic.
Polls commissioned by ORF, Austrias public broadcaster, showed that Hofer (like
Trump in the primaries and in the polls) led handily in rural areas, among men and
among manual workers. Van der Bellen swamped the right-wing candidate in the big
cities and among women, while also leading him among white-collar workers.
Mainstream parties, which can be infected by complacency, certainly bear some
responsibility for whats happening. The defection of working-class voters to the far right
is a cross-democracy electoral phenomenon that reflects a serious failure on the part of
social democratic and progressive parties whose historical task had been to represent
citizens in blue collars.
At the same time, the moderate conservative parties have seen some of their own
natural constituents drawn away by rising anti-immigrant feeling this has hurt
German Chancellor Angela Merkels Christian Democratic Union aggravated by
Europes refugee crisis.
Here again, the Trump analogy holds: Mainstream Republicans winked and nodded
toward a hard line on immigration; Trump has embraced it whole with his calls for a
border wall and a temporary ban on admitting Muslims to the country.
Thus another cross-Atlantic similarity: Opinions that were once far outside the normal
political discourse on immigration and nationalism are now expressed routinely. Katya
Adler, the BBCs Europe editor, captured this trend by pointing to the German word
salonfhig, which literally means passable for your living room, i.e., socially
Trumps relentless attacks on political correctness are intended to break the barriers
against what had once been beyond-the-pale sentiments on immigrants and race. His

crude approach to campaigning (on Tuesday, he called Hillary Clinton this low life)
reflects an indifference to norms that reinforces popular contempt for politics and
traditional politicians.
Standing up against the new far right should be a shared task across the old political
divides in all democracies. But Republican politicians are falling in line one by one
behind Trump, choosing to ignore the threat he poses to political decency and his
challenge to democratic values themselves.
The United States should not look to the European far right as our model. The land of
opportunity and freedom with a long tradition of welcoming newcomers should be
leading the resistance to the new authoritarianism.
Donald Trump is attracting authoritarian primary voters, and it may help him to
gain the nomination.
With the first primaries of the 2016 presidential election cycle looming, many in the
Republican Party are becoming increasingly concerned that billionaire Donald Trump
will actually be able to gain the partys nomination, leading the party to an electoral
disaster in November. Using a new national survey of American voters, Matthew C.
MacWilliams finds that these fears are well-founded. Trumps strongman rhetoric has
activated and energized American authoritarians to his candidacy providing him with a
large and loyal base of supporters in the upcoming Republican contests. An inclination
towards authoritarianism is a major predictor of peoples likelihood of voting for Donald
Trump in a way that it is not for any of the other GOP candidates. Moreover, Trump
voters are ready to suspend constitutionally guaranteed rights such as Habeas Corpus,
reject the protection of minority rights, and support the abridgment of religious freedom
through the closure of mosques across the US.
In her recent State of the Union response to President Barack Obama, South Carolinas
Republican Governor Nikki Haley warned her party and the nation to resist the
temptation to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. The angry soloist to whom
Governor Haley was referring is Donald Trump. As my recent national survey of 1,800
American voters reveals, Governor Haleys caution is well founded.
Trumps strongman siren call has electrified Americans disposed to authoritarianism,
rallying them to his banner as they follow his lead. As Trump joked last weekend, I

could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody. And I wouldnt lose any
voters, OK. Its like incredible.
My survey, conducted under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts Amherst,
uses a simple battery of four questions to identify authoritarians. These are the same
questions that leading political scientists including Marc Hetherington, Jonathon
Weiler, and Karen Stenner have employed since 1992 to measure individual
disposition to authoritarianism. The results of my poll show that authoritarianism is one
of only two variables that is a statistically significant predictor of Trump support among
likely Republican primary voters. The other variable is fear of terrorism. Other variables
included in the model are sex, educational attainment, age, church attendance,
evangelicalism, ideology, race, and income.
The authoritarian inclinations of Trump voters are abundantly clear when the predicted
probability of supporting Trump is arrayed across the authoritarian scale (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Support for Trump by Authoritarianism

When it comes to authoritarianism, Trump supporters are also distinct in their attitudes
from the followers of the other Republican candidates for president. Support models for
Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush that are run among likely
Republican primary voters and include the same set of independent variables tested for
when analyzing Trump find that authoritarianism has no effect on support for Trumps
The difference between the predicted authoritarian support for Trump and all other
Republican candidates is readily apparent when combined into one chart (Figure 2).
When looking at this chart, it is important to remember that authoritarianism is only a
statistically significant variable for Trump. Thus, while the difference between the
predicted value of Trumps support among authoritarians and non authoritarians is

statistically meaningful, any variation in support across the authoritarian scale for the
other candidates is not.
Figure 2 Support for Trump, Cruz, Carson Rubio and Bush by Authoritarianism

A common question raised by skeptics of the four-question authoritarian scale is that

the child rearing qualities it measures are not accurate estimators of an individuals
disposition to authoritarianism. One simple way to test this question and answer
skeptics is to assess whether Trump voters express authoritarian attitudes on questions
that theoretically should engage their authoritarianism. In other words, if Trump voters
really are authoritarians, more often than not they should behave like authoritarians.
Several questions in my survey were designed to test for authoritarian behavior. These
questions spring from a robust literature that begins with Fromms aptly named Escape
From Freedom, spans seven decades and details both authoritarians fear of the other
and antipathy for Madisonian democracy and the protection of minority rights from
majority tyranny. As such, the questions probe survey respondents attitudes toward
bedrock Democratic values that are the foundation of constitutional government and
civil society.
On most of these questions, Trump voters exhibit statistically significant and substantive
authoritarian attitudes. For example, Trump voters are statistically more likely to agree
that other groups should sometimes be kept in their place. They support preventing
minority opposition once we decide what is right.
Trump supporters kick the fundamental tenets of Madisonian democracy to the curb,
asserting that the rights of minorities need not be protected from the power of the

majority. And they are statistically more likely than Trump opponents to agree the
President should curtail the voice and vote of the opposition when it is necessary to
protect the country though a plurality still opposes this exercise of presidential power.
Trump voters are also ready to suspend the constitutionally guaranteed Writ of Habeas
Corpus by empowering the police and law enforcement to arrest and detain indefinitely
anyone in the United States who is suspected of belonging to a terrorist organization.
And, as you would suspect, Trump supporters agree that mosques across the United
States should be closed down a clear abridgement of the religious freedoms
guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights (Figure 3).
Figure 3 Attitudes of Trump Voters on Bedrock Democratic Questions

By comparison, on each of these questions, the attitudes of the supporters of Cruz,

Carson, Rubio, and Bush were statistically insignificant. Thus, supporters of Trump
express authoritarian attitudes on a wide range of important questions, while
supporters of his Republican opponents do not.
Last week the National Review, which some pundits consider the American
conservative movements most influential publication, warned that Trump was a freefloating populist with strongman overtones. My data indicates that the 20 conservatives
who argued Trump must not become the Republican nominee got their description of
him half right. His rhetoric is that of a strongmans. But his doctrine isnt populism, it is
authoritarianism. The difference is quite important and may explain why Trumps Teflon
candidacy continues to exceed conventional expectations.


After analyzing 14 years of national polling data from 1992 to 2006, Hetherington and
Weiler concluded that authoritarianism was driving political polarization in
America. While authoritarians can be found among self-identified Democrats and
Independents, their slow but steady movement over time to the Republican Party may
have created the conditions for a candidate with an authoritarian message like Trumps
to emerge.
Trumps support is firmly rooted in an American version of authoritarianism that, once
awakened and stoked, is a force to be reckoned with. And until quite recently, the
institutions and leaders tasked with guarding against what Madison called the infection
of the violent passions among the people have either been cowed by Trumps bluster
or derelict in performing their civic duty. Trumps authoritarian support may be too solid
and his momentum too strong to stop his march to the Republican nomination.
Featured image credit: Tony Webster (Flickr, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0)
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Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of USAPP
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About the author
Matthew C. MacWilliams University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Matthew C. MacWilliams is a PhD Candidate at the University of Massachusetts
Amherst. He is President of MacWilliams Sanders a political communications firm. His
research interests including campaign communications, social media, political behavior,
authoritarianism in American politics, constitutional law and judicial behavior, the
Supreme Court, the political of climate change, interest group lobbying of the judiciary,
and election forecasting.