Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Better Late Than Never?

As anyone who's kept up with me that long knows, I've been saying Trump is a fascist since first seeing him speak at the first GOP primary debate in 2015 when I also predicted that he would win the presidential election. America had been craving a fascist for a while, and Trump delivered.

Some theorists on fascism were not so keen on applying the fascist label to Trump. Robert O. Paxton, author of The Anatomy of Fascism, has been among the most vocal in this camp. After Trump's election, Paxton refused to use the fascist label, citing Trump's lack of exercise of fascist power. Apparently, the travel bans, immigrant raids, and labor rights drawdowns by executive order did not factor into his analysis.

Finally, Paxton is coming around to the obvious fact that Trump, known for his rants advocating eugenics, keeping Hitler's speeches by his bedside, and speaking in a language of barely coded racism, is in fact a fascist. Honestly, he might have damaged his reputation less if he were willing to die on the "Trump isn't a fascist" hill. Now we know that Paxton's definition helps you identify fascism five years after the fact. What's the point in that?