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Trumph of the Will: Taking Donald Trump's Fascism Seriously


#1

Trumph of the Will: Taking Donald Trump's Fascism Seriously

Justin Mueller

The GOP presidential candidacy of Donald Trump has been seen by many as a hilarious farce. How could this former reality TV star, a multiply-bankrupt billionaire, an all of a sudden family-values champion with four failed marriages, whose official politics have shifted loudly with the political winds NOT be seen as a ridiculous indictment of the spectacle of American electoral politics? As some have noted, his very appeal to some people is in his willingness to say things that normal politicians just don't usually say… at least, out loud.


#2

If and when the mainstream media choose to disappear or decisively sink him, Trump will become history. That is, unless they play along with him long enough that his "movement" takes hold.


#3

Trump may represent the fascistic tendencies in a segment of the American population but he comes to the table early. We erect the structural framework for a neo-facism that is dependent not on jackboots but on data mining and total surveillance but we aren't there yet. We begin, we test things out, we fine tune and we pause right on the line but do not cross it because, as yet, there is no need. "Look up in the sky, is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's a drone!"

Were there to be a major catastrophe like a truly devastating storm like Katrina but one as big as Sandy (which sadly is quite possible) then Trump might evoke that semi-legendary 'big daddy will fix it' aura and get in.

As yet though, Trump creates unease among the more rational and decent people of this country instead of creating a feeling of security and the classic 'strong man' authority figure that supposedly can restore order from chaos and uncertainty.

In ten years amid climatic chaos and likely economic turmoil and even worse a big WW2 sized war, Trump's graduated simplicity might be welcomed and his over the top inanities excused. It seems too early for that yet.

We have the underpinnings of a neo-fascism ... a soft fascism without the jackboots but it is almost as if it is still being held in reserve. Waiting for the day when it will emerge full grown and ready to fly. This kinder and gentler fascism (for native borns not immigrants) needs a catalyst which hasn't happened yet. It needs a major disruption in ordinary life for everyone, a war won't do it btw, for all Trump's militarism he is too foppish to stimulate the prerequisite John Wayne associations. However an economic melt down or a climatic one-two punch might do it.

So right now, ugly and menacing as it may be to see fascism snarling up at us out of the depths of the dark side of capitalism... Trump is too early. Barring a catalyst in the next year, Trump disconcerts more people than he reassures others. Barring some catastrophe, more Americans would rather have peace and quiet (however selfishly and illusory) than they would expect they'd get from Trump's over active projections of what he would do.

Barring some catalytic turmoil to turn us upside down, that is. Normalcy must first be upset, destroyed or ready to collapse before fascists can take over. The depression in the thirties, the catastrophe of the war and so forth. For us it will be the climate and economic chaos... the one-two punch.

Be very afraid kiddies because one of those - climatic chaos - is a near certainty and when that happens it is very likely economic chaos will follow. The next neo-fascist will not be such a caricature nor anywhere as much fun to watch.


#4

Although there are many fine insights this article/essay conveys, as usual what is missing is any mention of the largely white MALE component. It's mostly white males who feel displaced by women--taking "their" jobs along with Latinos and Blacks. And this was as true in the run-up to fascism in Germany as it is here inside the Homeland. While certainly all those good Christian wives taught to obey father church and husband as HEAD of household may go along with the moral black hole produced by the overall displacement in wealth (engineered by stealth to the top of the financial food chain, as painstakingly documented by the Piketty Study); by and large, the sense of disempowerment is a WHITE MALE thing. And THAT is who Trump speaks to. That is the same ilk that loves its guns, supports foreign wars, thinks empathy for the countless slaughtered innocents is what girls feel do and is unmanly.

This displaced and angry demographic resents ITS loss of status to a more equalized society (due to Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and Immigrant presence largely due to the force of NAFTA and how it displaced many self-sufficient farmers from the land and sent them to the U.S. to eke out a living). Trump speaks to that resentment as does Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and an entire legion of white Conservative males who are given FAR more T.V. and radio space than any progressives--be they males, women, Latinos, or Black!

A great many intelligent male analysts avoid mention of the GENDER component as much as most do honest discussions of 911. Two third rails, apparently. Wilhelm Reich got it, and so did the novelist Leon Uris in relating the importance of the MALE superhero to the entire German Nazi mind-control via propaganda rise to temporal (through absolute brutality) power.

"There is an deep, affective dimension to Trump's candidacy that appeals to a mostly-white, racist, xenophobic demographic who feel impotent, but who also hold deep resentment against outsiders and those who seem to embody the destruction of a mythic homogeneous community in which they can feel at ease."

And this:

"The overwhelmingly white, less educated (and thus more economically vulnerable), immigrant averse, confederate flag-supporting, "traditional" values-espousing nationalists who think that conditions of poverty for the Black community is mostly their own fault feel a chord struck when Trump speaks."

It IS a white MALE demographic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


#5

It should be clear to any fair-minded person that the Tea Party's activities (funded by corporate behemoths) garnered plenty of FREE media attention, and that typically, its actions were described as patriotic, well-organized, or very "adult." In contrast, when Occupy Wall St. got any media time, it was either to cover moments of police brutality, or look for ways to condemn all those "unwashed masses" for daring to protest the vast graft of Wall St. and its insider-cronies.

And since most of media features white males and virtually all of them support the narratives that make foreign wars possible, it is VERY difficult for honest citizens to gain a true understanding of how much dissent is "out there."

What we typically see--if we see or hear of it at all, and sites like Commondreams are some of the only media making these phenomena known--are specific protests. They might be in opposition to the shuttering of public schools, the necessity of labeling gen-tech food or better still, keeping it OUT of this nation's fields and supermarkets, pushing for a sensible raise in the minimum wage, viable health care for all, and a criminal justice system that doesn't itself mock law and justice. Mobilizing against pipelines and fracking is another key arena. And those are only some of the protest arenas currently made active.

My point is that THE GROUP given dominance in media happens to be the group that Trump speaks to. Therefore, it's impossible to know how many advocates it has since this ilk gets a far greater "share of media face time" than does any other.

Still, it's refreshing that Mr. Mueller didn't fall back on the LAZY, one-size-fits-all frame that arrogates to itself the right to speak for all--that is, citizens representative of diversified views and backgrounds--by stating that Trump represented all of us, the great universal WE. He offered this distinction, and again, I challenge how pervasive it really is:

"There is a large, angry, racist, xenophobic, reactionary-populist segment of the American populace, and they are taking Trump very seriously as a signal allowing them to embody their cretinous innermost selves."


#6

SR...maybe you should look at actual figures based on gender for some of the points you make. You might be shocked. I know you will be shocked. It wasn't only men who voted for Reagan. It wasn't only men who voted for Bush/Cheney. That is the reality which you all too often ignore. Women are not as militaristic as men, that seems fair to say but they vote that way as much as do men. That is reality. If women were like you want to believe they are then ... none of this would have happened! Lol

But they are SR. Women are rightwing too.

Oh and by the way >>> a lot of men are progressives too you know... you seem to never notice that! Hello SR...

...Hi sister!


#7

Donald Trump for President; the perfect fit for the fascist, Amerikan, Fourth Reich!


#9

Look, Justin, you and I are both eggheads. We can spout and process incredibly lengthy analyses of why we think the way we do about Donald Trump.
He is playing us all.
He doesn't need you, me or anyone with a brain.
He needs the Republican base of idiots and enough "independents." He can win.
He is playing right out of Edward Bernaise and not being subtle about it.
First, just like Goebbles and the Jews, and the Neocons and the Muslims, he has picked an "other" to tickle all those idiots amygdalas with, herding them right in to his camp. "Scary Mexicans!"
Then he spouts how great the bible is, and Voila! He proves that all our bloviating doesn't amount to any more than free press, and he has totally figured out the game.
Anyone notice he is talking about tarriffs? Protectionism? You won't see that brought up by any corporate outlet because it IS in fact the only thing that will save American Jobs. I would vote for him on that one subject alone.
Good luck with your intellectual preaching to the choir. Trump's out there sweeping up the sheep!


#11

Despite having a few billion dollars to his name and a puerile celebrity status, Donald Trump, as an individual person, is really quite ordinary. He is not interesting, he is not imaginative and he is not particularly articulate. He seems to reach a good thought by sheer accident: most of what comes out of his mouth (seemingly untouched by the action of his brain) is utter nonsense or racist claptrap. My favorite Donald Trump proposal is his "idea" that Mexico must pay for the construction of a wall on the US/Mexican border which will keep the Mexican "illegals" in their own sorry country. As realpolitik , Trump's proposal is laughable, as well being offensive to boot. But as demagoguery, it is sheer genius.

Trump has figured out, in that low, cunning way which distinguishes the fascist, that a sizeable number of Americans do not want to live in reality. They want fantasy, and the more fantastical their wish, the more it pays to pander to it. Trump wants to make "America great again," but he offers no policy that will restore Detroit, Hartford, Cleveland, Youngstown, Camden, NJ, etc, etc , to their (supposed) former glory. Trump is simply blowing wind, but his supporters don't care: they want to hear that they are part of a "great" nation, even if they don't have the slightest idea what greatness in a nation actually means,. Trump is a master of illusion. He's a post-modern PT Barnum, but he is not so entertaining as Barnum and he is far more sinister.

Not all of Trump's fantasizing can be dismissed as mere wind blowing. His proposal to deport 11m illegal immigrants is pure fascist fantasy, but that does not mean it could never become true. The history of fascism should be a salutary warning that anything is possible, once you unleash the mad forces of the hard right. Trump may not win the Presidency, but he might well succeed in forcing the Republican Party to embrace "trumpism." Trumpism, or American fascism, is most likely the futile fantasy politics of white nationalism, but it can still do a lot of harm to the American body politic. On the other hand, there is a sense in which trumpism spells electoral disaster for the Republican Party. White nationalism is a losing hand in a political game increasingly dominated by multicultural factors. In short, Trump could turn out to be a genuine American fascist or he could be the death blow to white supremacy as a hegemonic force (at least in terms of elections). Let's hope this foolish vain man turns out to be the latter rather than the former.


#14

Idi Amin?
Robert Mugabe?
Madame Mao?
Ghengis Khan?
Attila the Hen?
Mary Tudor?
Queen Elizabeth 1?
Queen Victoria?
Mr Mao?
Ghengis Khan's wife?
The brown-skinned woman who was deliberately egging on 14 young brown-skinned men to go kill someone in a neighbouring village whilst I was talking them down from doing just that?

Yes: Trump exemplifies and makes popularly respectable the same vileness as did Hitler and as such he is a danger. But to blame all white males for the world's ills is to use the same line of thought as you object to in the use of the word,"We".


#15

i think articles like these,or any articles about Dtrump are a waste of time and energy. while the descriptions and definitions of fascism are timely they are needed by the mainstream population as they are pretty well known on sites like these.
if you step back and ask "why do both parties have these unusual additional candidates running"? you may consider the possibility that they are "sheepherding" the bored restless no-more-bush-clintons-in-office voters back into the system,one we know is fixed.if it is fixed and the two parties have these sheepdogs in place then the logical conclusion is that neither will win the nomination and so ALL OF THE BROUHAHA IS POINTLESS,including well meant articles like this.

a number of things point to 2016 being a pivotal or turning point moment in our history. what we need is to analyze why that is or may be true. any discussion of Dtrump is not much more useful than discussing kim k's wardrobe-but it serves the same distracting purpose.that is why,imo,we have our two noisy sheepdogs herding the voters back into the system at a time when we need our attentions glued to the activities of the MIC/bankster cons who are too close to their dream of total control over amerika and by extension,much of the world.

how many of us know about the imminent collapse of the entire banking/credit/financial system,and not just here but throughout europe? greece was just the first to go.how many have tracked the changes in our laws regulating and narrowing our "legal"actions while dramatically increasing everyones possible exposure to the police/court/prison system because the INTERPRETATION of these vague new laws is left purposely wide open to any cop/fbi/nsa/dea/judge et al. the old "im ok with this because i have nothing to hide" has been proved to be the mistake of the new century-just ask the guantamo guys who were STOLEN from their countries,incarcerated (we are no.1 in that) and NEVER CHARGED. how about all of the people killed recently by cops? they were innocent too. innocence,being law abiding, mean NOTHING and neither does Dtrump,except that the people who like him will probably be the last to be interred and will display the greatest amount of disbelief when it happens.

i firmly believe we are well into a world where everything happening in the u.s. the u.k. canada and much of europe is meant to achieve a specific purpose and distractions are still needed before the door slams on The Brave New World of 1984 that is barely a few years,a few laws, a few lies away. we will see this in our lifetimes and we will all be Winston Smiths,in jail,medicated on soma or dead.either way suffices for MIC/Banksters, and because of this, all of the dissertations on Dtrump et al dont really mean a damn thing.

the best thing to do is get your passport updated and start selling off your unnecessay stuff while keeping an eye on the real deal and ignoring the flashy lites and sounds.


#16

btw has anyone heard from JADE HELM 15? did u know the press was UNINVITED to follow this? go ahead look it up.try a progressive site.interesting isnt it?


#17

Ghengis Khan's wife?

Must be a British thing I guess?


#18

I think the MSM has already chosen him. NPR is a good MSM compass that points favorably to Trump and away from Bernie.


#19

I think Trump wants the election to be held now because he doesn't have much to say except for a few key 'trigger sound bite' issues when it comes down to it. As things go even Trump is noticing that he is getting boring and his incitement headlines getting stale.
The mainstream media knew that from the get go. Bernie was the real news and getting bigger and bigger crowds. That wasn't following the appointed script. Along comes Trump and they switch almost as one from reporting Berne's rising popularity to focusing on the 'Trump Presidential Election Show'. They knew he would fade fast. It was all headlines and talk but Trump is starting to even look bored with the whole thing. Fun while it lasted but he's busy and has other things to do besides becoming president... lol!

Meanwhile, they stopped reporting Bernie's meteoric rise which is actually historic without them looking like they are not covering it. It was all Trump all the time... odd that huh? That happened because the media doesn't really expect Trump to be a serious contender but they kind of want him to be because most of the other repubs are utter nobodies except Bush...

and the game was always supposed to be Clinton vs Bush anyway.

Trump was more of an excuse not to cover Bernie's continuing rise. Bernie's upsetting the apple cart over the long term... not Trump even though in the short term, Trump has shaken things up a bit... the media figures he won't last.


#20

I do hope you are right. Anyway it will be "interesting" from here on out.


#21

It is only interesting to see who wins the nominations...lol.

If Bernie gets it THEN it will be exciting... historic actually. What is astounding is whether America rejects the heir designates of Jeb and Hillary and opts for the whacko billionaire oligarch and the progressive anti-oligarch match up. My guess is that Trump is sort of like a 'bracket by association' useful show. He is supposed to fade AND take down Bernie with him as the other wildcard flash in the pan candidate that had elicited such popularity in the beginning.

I'm hoping Bernie's appeal since it is based on rational issues of importance to working people and middle class voters, that his popularity won't falter. Trump is all bombastic showmanship but not substance. People will tire of it eventually but Bernie is the real ringer. Bernie scares the oligarchy. Trump doesn't.


#22

Thank you for teaching me Godwin's Law, priceless! It is troubling and I don't like thinking about it but the shear number of people participating in fascist or bigoted groups, media and behavior. There is already seemingly much stronger infrastructure catering to those ideologies, though I do feel reinvigorated by all the new volunteers in this election.


#23

One presumes Ghengis Kahn had a wife, nagging him ever onwards to conquest..........Have you heard otherwise?


#24

The male-female demographic is interesting, Women in the developed world live around 7-8% longer than men...........