Donald Trump And Fascism Make For Best Sunday Newspaper Read
There is no doubt that Donald Trump with his aggressive nationalism, overt racism, disdain for reporters, creating disorder among his followers, and a zeal for total control can be correctly termed as leaning fascist. Today the front page–above the fold–of The New York Times put Trump and other fascists like him world-wide into context.
The debate about terminology may ignore the seriousness of the conditions that gave rise to Mr. Trump and his European counterparts. The New York real estate developer has tapped into a deep discontent in a country where many feel left behind while Wall Street banks get bailouts, newcomers take jobs, terrorists threaten innocents and China rises economically at America’s expense.
“It seems to me in developed and semideveloped countries there is emerging a new kind of politics for which maybe the best taxonomic category would be right-wing populist nationalism,” said Stanley Payne, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We are seeing a new kind of phenomenon which is different from what you had” in the 20th century.
Roger Eatwell, a professor at the University of Bath, in England, calls it “illiberal democracy,” a form of government that keeps the trappings of democracy without the reality.
“Elections are seen as important to legitimizing regimes,” he said, but instead of imposing one-party rule, as in the past, today’s authoritarians “use a variety of devices to control and/or manipulate the media, intimidate opponents” and so on.
Either way, it has found pockets of support on both sides of the Atlantic. Lilia Shevtsova, a political analyst in Moscow, said neo-fascism in liberal societies in the West stems from crisis or dysfunction while in illiberal countries like Russia and Turkey it reflects an attempt to fill the void left by the failure of Western notions to catch on.
The problem, she added, is that “the Western political leadership at the moment is too weak to fight the tide.”