Increasingly, desperate Republicans fear the worst: A madman named Donald Trump could well become the party’s nominee for President in 2016.
“This is not conservatism,” declared new House Speaker Paul Ryan when asked about Trump’s latest ploy — denying any and all Muslims from entry into the United States because they are simply Muslims.
“Right,” writes Dana Milbank of The Washington Post. “It’s fascism.”
Trump uses many of the fascist’s tools: a contempt for facts, spreading a pervasive sense of fear and overwhelming crisis, portraying his backers as victims, assigning blame to foreign or alien actors and suggesting only his powerful personality can transcend the crisis. He endorsed the violence done to a dissenter at one of his rallies, and he now floats the idea of making entry to the United States contingent on religion.
A quantitative analysis of Trump’s speeches by the New York Times found that Trump echoes what historians said were “the appeals of some demagogues of the past century” in his repetition of “divisive phrases, harsh words and violent imagery.”
Trump is the latest example of a political system run amok. He is the self-appointed symbol of a populace defined by ignorance, hate and bigotry. He claims he is “taking America back.” If anything, he is taking the nation back into the dark ages. Even worse, he’s appealing to base fears of the paranoid, a master of deceit and a dispenser of fear, stupidity and vileness never before portrayed so openly in this nation.
“Trump is a fascist,” says conservative military historian Max Boot. “That’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it.”
With his call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” Donald Trump has crossed an uncrossable line of bigotry and xenophobia. The Republican front-runner presents a clearer, more present danger to U.S. interests than the supposedly threatening Muslims he seeks to exclude. He is a one-man recruiting tool for the Islamic State.
It was Trump being Trump, which is to say, crude, intolerant and ignorant. Yet nothing Trump has said previously comes close to this un-American suggestion.
And nothing in my experience of U.S. politics has been so sickening, has made me so embarrassed for my country. Who could have imagined that any supposedly mainstream political candidate — no less the front-runner of a major political party — would propose anything so extreme?
Milbank calls Trump a modern-day Mussolini:
Trump’s chin-out toughness, sweeping right-hand gestures and talk of his “huge” successes and his “stupid” opponents all evoke the Italian dictator’s style. Monday’s breathtaking announcement that he would block all Muslims from entering the United States has many pointing out the obvious fascist overtones.
Yet too many Republicans hesitate to call Trump what he is: A threat to society in general. They hesitate because they see his shenanighans resonating with those who are now the vile, angry, hate-filled face of too much of America.
“Trump speaks for us,” someone told me over breakfast this week. “He speaks for America.”
My appetite gone, I put down my knife and fork, took one last hit of a cup of coffee, got up from the table and walked out of the restaurant. I could no longer listen to such outright support of bigotry, hate and ignorance.
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