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It Can’t Happen Here... Can It?


It Can’t Happen Here... Can It?

Bob Dreyfuss

Can it happen here?


The ugly truth is that it already has happened here. Trump is only the most obvious and classic icon of authoritarian fascism but if we really understand what fascism is, we have to acknowledge that it has been here for some time.

As I penned in an article I wrote for a local paper. fascism is a societal disease marked by undue corporate influence on government, militarism and a cultural military mindset defined by hyper-nationalism, suspicion of foreigners, fear of enemies, scapegoating of minorities, crushing of labor unions, anti-rationalism and rejection of science, intrusive government, a militarized police state and the prosecution of dissidents.

In many ways fascism has been with us, strengthened by the “patriot act” and the metastasis of the National Security State. That we have not seen it blossom in full up until Trump is due to the reality that the ruling class has not found it necessary – except in poor and minority communities. Fascism is already justified and codified in our laws and corporatism has run our media and government for decades.

This underscores both the vital importance of the Sanders campaign and it’s biggest challenge if not its limits. Unless we can confront and dismantle the fascism that is already here, a Trump is inevitable – even to a lesser degree, in the more human, smiling face of Hillary Clinton.


I agree and believe that fascism, and most isms for that matter, should be regarded as a spectrum disorder. Trying to see if Trumpism is perfectly congruent with historical models of fascism is an academic exercise of little probative value. Several month’s ago I read Sinclair Lewis’ (1935) It’ Can’t Happen Here in light of Trump’s success. Aside from the Business Plot of 1933-34, Trump seems to represent the most viable threat to form an explicit authoritarian state. As much as I recoil at the current mostly implicit authoritarianism, I don’t want to see things ratcheted up a notch or two.


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It is amazing how many people are falling for this restore American greatness stuff. Both Russia and China are bent on restoring their greatness. That makes sense. The Soviet Union was a superpower and China was a great power for long periods before the middle of the 19th century. But clearly the US is now on top. Number one economy, number one military, greatest research universities, etc. What does a great country mean?


Although Mr. Dreyfuss does a good job of portraying what Trump rallies, locked and loaded would look like, there is a factor he’s neglected to mention: that of the private army.

Mercenaries for hire are “the new deal” when it comes to citizen control and Eric Prince is employable… for the right price; and certainly such a price can be met by a billionaire like Trump.

I don’t think he’d take that route. But the point is… it is available.

Also, this idea that the U.S. has entered into a financial recovery is as bogus as a 3-dollar bill. The various Q.E. payoffs have artificially inflated the economy and created a very vulnerable house of cards.

Listening to the financial cognoscenti across You Tube, it’s clear to them that a collapse is imminent. Stock prices are a chimera. Actual goods and commodities are priced very low and a lot of Hedge Fund money was used to back the Fracking operations which now are operating in the red. They have big loan payments due that they can’t meet.

Similarly, many nations that relied on copper, oil, and other building commodities prices to shore up their own economies are hurting. And they can’t make their debt payments.

The intensely crooked Ponzi Scheme based on the sale of derivatives into the hundreds of trillions of dollars requires constant loan payments in order to infuse new “blood” into its vampire-like system. And when nations and entities can’t make those payments, the entire debacle of deception is exposed.

THAT is what is ahead.

So when this collapse happens, all of those angry people will turn the prejudices that Trump juiced up on the most vulnerable.

Yes. It could happen here. And some appear to want that!


I just read your article. You are an excellent writer and you covered a lot of items that need to be connected (and too often are not), and also make the case for fascism in its variety of “flavors.”

I have 2 objections.

First, early in your essay after defining the Fascist components and operational networks of the CIA, you revert to the generic WE-frame to characterize what American forces are doing to destabilize other nations.

I think it’s important to discern what this WE represents. If it’s not true that most citizens back these campaigns–or even know about them (given their covert nature and the FACT that they serve the power elite, NOT citizens) then why attribute cause and consent to the majority group?

Identify the actors! These are Deep State actors acting in the interests of the Deep State and its 1% benefactors.

Second: The male blind-spot. While your wish to probe the roots of U.S. fascism is admirable, you left out the gender item. It is very important because the Women’s Movement made a LOT of white men (and other men) feel displaced. A lot of men resented women “taking their jobs.”

Initially, when women began to be accepted into the police forces, their male partners would NOT back them up. Inside the U.S. military, rape and domestic abuse are rampant.

Most of the advocates for Trump-style fascism are angry white men. Up until the l960s, they had an edge over Blacks, women, Hispanics, etc.

As these groups fought for greater liberties and equality, and soon after, white males saw their incomes eviscerated (by “Free Trade” and its cousins), the anger went horizontal: it was directed at these “competitive” groups rather than at the puppeteers who worked the systems to set one group against another.

Fascism is usually muscular and usually speaks in the language of machismo for that reason. And how it is that some white women back Trump can largely be explained through the new breed of militant-Christianity that is based on simplistic fundamentalist mindsets (what I call “Mars rules,” a felonious misrepresentation of the peace-based teachings of Jesus Christ).

If you see the value of these additions to your thesis, feel free to use them.

Every other point you make is well-taken and I think demonstrating the blood-soaked history of the CIA is VERY important since thugs who support Trump only hear the threats against groups they don’t realize have been bludgeoned… as if no harm was done to them in the first place.


You make good points, and thank you. I’m writing for mostly uninformed non-political folks and you are certainly right in the difference between the State and we citizens – too many go along waving flags and cheering atrocities though. I should have made more of a point of the difference and have in other articles.

Also regarding women, the hyper-machismo or fascism certainly takes its toll and women are too often the scapegoat. Some try and compensate by being even more militaristic and macho than men and too many worship that diseased ideal but Feminism is vital to our resistance and movement toward civilization.


Thank you. Very few in this forum react with other than defensiveness when I point these things out.

I don’t think most men understand how deep the roots of misogyny go and how these originate in patriarchal religions.

When little girls attend church, mosque, synagogue and hear ONLY the male pronoun referenced to indicate God, it makes them feel not only left out… but less than. And since it’s this patriarchal value system that begins with the notion of a masculine god (that entirely leaves out the Mother principle as part of Creation and chief expresser of Life on this planet in all of its biological forms) that was used to justify the 2nd class status held by women for many centuries, this asymmetric foundation is taken for real by many. It’s psychologically embedded.

There are Christian Fundamentalist books based on the wife submitting to her husband along with insistences that the male is the HEAD of the family. Its chief authority.

When the family is set up as a hierarchy and children see the mother forced to obey the husband, that in and of itself undermines the premise of gender equality.

Millions of people are raised in evangelical or fundamentalist households that impart authority to the male.

When daughters, sisters, and wives “rebel” against this male authority… men feel that something was taken from them. Having never truly internalized the equal value of the female, and unconsciously equating that female with property… there is tremendous anger when women work to self-actualize and develop their own autonomy, lives, and sexual preferences.

The entire patriarchal house of cards would collapse if enough women took command of their own bodies and THAT is why the Catholic Church along with its Protestant (Evangelical Christian) allies work so hard to block this… by blocking birth control AND abortion.

The financial component is also important; but as a woman who came of age during the 2nd wave of Feminism (and who has read most of its leading figures as FEW in this forum have), I wish to convey the psychological, cultural, religious, and emotional undercurrents that are deeply weighed down by unexamined misogyny.

Again, I only wish to enhance your case… there is nothing to discredit. Your article IS excellent. Should you ever wish to extend it further, you might wish to explore the points that I offered.

Write On!


I disagree with calling Trump a fascist. Look up the definition. I think it would be more accurate to describe him as a narcissistic plutocrat, but hey, that doesn’t sell many newspapers and doesn’t make for drama for MSM TV news and it certainly doesn’t draw a very good picture in people’s minds when listening to radio. Trump has been turned into a media circus by comparing him to Hitler. It is easy to picture a Hitler. Remember the OJ. Simpson days? And by-the-way, has any one seen or heard anything lately re: anything important on the news? Berta is in the ground, the arms from Libya and our embassy in Benghazi long gone to “our” rebels trying to overthrow Assad in Syria and now being used against US ghost soldiers somewhere out there, but who knows where? Oh, and our American hero, Snowden; what’s going on there, or with what’s his name, the Army fellow in prison for divulging US war crimes in some long forgotten place in the Mid-East. Oh, but Trump the fascist gets all the news coverage. Feel the Bern. Get to somehow know the man, his record, his judgement and his dedication to all of us just trying to survive in this land of the rich and home of the spied on. Bernie will not be doing any $350,000 bribery speeches after he leaves office. Sen Sanders is giving the last year’s of his life to us and his country. Feel the Bern.


When it comes to the military, industrial, congressional, MSM, complex, it has happened here. Trump is the perfect leader.


" Trump is a pathological liar."

But the good news, Bernie was all but ignored by Trump for a long time and he demonized HRC; and then Bernie was laughed at by Trump for being a " communist"; and now Trump has resorted to lying about Bernie disrupting his Chicago rally and seems to have ignored HRC.

That must mean Bernie is winning!


“That must mean Bernie is winning”, making Trump less confident that he will win in November. While Trump knows that he can easily beat Clinton in November, he also knows that beating Bernie in November will be more difficult. Trump will do whatever he needs to do to make sure Clinton is nominated.


Agreed, on a one to ten scale with ten being most fascist, Trump would be mid range… a five or six. Obama, Trump’s GOP opponents, and the Clintons would be in the seven to ten range.

Using the same scale for narcissistic plutocrats, Trump IS a ten, with the others in the five to seven range.


Yes, Trump may be a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them! Trump fears Bernie, that is why he is demonizing Bernie as ordering his followers to disrupt Trumps rallies.


The people you named were and are nothing but fawning parasites for the Amerikan Empire; figure heads for the US military dictatorship. From Vietnam to Obama’s drones.


Sure it can happen here, and it probably will. In a nutshell, Democrats already lost by spending the years of this administration alienating much of the Dem voting base – the poor, and those who get why unrelieved poverty is such a critical issue. The middle class alone tend to vote for the hard right.


Why would Trump fear Sanders? Sanders, formerly a powerful advocate for the poor, has worked hard to alienate the poor (and those who get why unrelieved poverty matters) with this campaign. The middle class is now under 50% of the population, and they are split between parties. The numbers just don’t add up to a 2016 Dem victory. Liberals inexplicably try to put a “democratic socialist” button on Sanders’ lapel, knowing that even today’s liberals reject democratic socialism (since it does, indeed, include a legitimate welfare system). I assume this alienated many who fear that Sanders might end our war on the poor.

Under these circumstances, after more deeply alienating so much of the Dem voting base, I don’t see how Democrats can win 2016. Trump knows he has nothing to worry about.


DHFabian, for whatever reason… is lying about the Sanders campaign.

And as always, DHFabian provides NO CITATION AND NO EVIDENCE to support the lie.


I think you are absolutely correct. Bernie is the antithesis of Trump, the “Anti-Trump.” All through the campaign, Trump has targeted whatever GOP candidate may be threatening his poll numbers, and has done so effectively. He really doesn’t want to face Bernie in the general because Sanders is fearless up against a guy like Trump, bully that he is. Against Hillary, Trump would have a shot; against Sanders, he’d be one of those losers he’s calling everyone else. Bernie 's biography is one of moral courage, something Trump will never have.