When a country is ripe for fascism, a fascist leader will emerge. The mistake we commonly make is to focus all our attention on such a leader, while being less critical of those who follow him — because they are uneducated, misinformed, and gullible. After all, it’s easier to express contempt for a man like Donald Trump than it is to criticize ones own neighbors.
As conservative politicians and commentators are becoming increasingly vocal in their criticisms of Trump — many are now openly calling him a fascist — the fact is, many of those critics have also long fanned the same bigotry around which Trump has built his presidential campaign, especially the Islamophobia that has been the backdrop of American politics for over a decade.
CNN reports: “Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it,” tweeted Max Boot, a conservative fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who is advising Marco Rubio.
Trump is a fascist. And that's not a term I use loosely or often. But he's earned it. https://t.co/KSfADd5Ycq
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) November 22, 2015
“Forced federal registration of US citizens, based on religious identity, is fascism. Period. Nothing else to call it,” Jeb Bush national security adviser John Noonan wrote on Twitter.
Forced federal registration of US citizens, based on religious identity, is fasicm. Period. Nothing else to call it. https://t.co/XYee8dEgJr
— John Noonan (@noonanjo) November 20, 2015
Conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace, who has endorsed Ted Cruz, also used the “F” word last week: “If Obama proposed the same religion registry as Trump every conservative in the country would call it what it is — creeping fascism.”
If Obama proposed the same religion registry as Trump every conservative in the country would call it what it is — creeping fascism.
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) November 20, 2015
Moreover, as Trump’s popularity is viewed in the context of contemporary American culture — the Tea Party, the polarizing effect of social media, fear of government, xenophobia, and isolationism — let’s not forget that as Hitler’s fascism rose in Germany, some of its most outspoken supporters could be found in the United States.