This essay reads as if it’s main ideas were hastily written on a napkin, over a hurried lunch, complete with the equivocating asterisk. Well, because the writer isn’t quite convinced that Trump is a fascist, in the sense that Mr. Paxton might agree with in terms of ‘impending genocide’. Yet for all the words written about the subject of fascism what is utterly absent is its American political context. That context being the American nation and the whole of the Western Hemisphere.
In the American state political context the names of Huey Long, Father Coughlin and Charles Lindbergh and America First are absent. Why? They are the political precursors of Trump! Not to speak of the post war history of The Republicans, who have been engaging in, and or, flirting with political necromancy since their ‘Generation of Treason’ sloganeering of post World War II. The McCarthy/Nixon/McCarren/Mundt political alliance used this as a political war cry against The New Deal. Then came Goldwater of the infamous: radicalism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. Quickly followed by the Dixiecrat migration of ’64 and ’65, after the passage of both the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. The election of Nixon and his ‘Southern Strategy’, followed by States Rights advocate Ronald Reagan.Then Came Bush I and his Willy Horton race baiting , and then Neo-Reaganite Bill Clinton whose ‘Welfare Reform’ , ‘Financial Reform’ and ‘Crime Bill’ were monuments to Republican political/moral paranoia, and cemented the fact that the New Democrats were betrayers of the New Deal, in the name of scheming ambition.The New Democrats as the not so sub rosa allies of the Republicans. Not to forget, Bush II and his unalloyed economic incompetence, wedded to an irrepressible war mongering. The Republican political nihilism inaugurated by McConnell/Boehner and McConnell/Ryan as a ‘political strategy’ adapted in the face of the losses of 2008 and 2012. All of the foregoing set the political stage for Trump.Not to speak of the utter failure of the Neo-Liberal dispensation, and the inability of Western Capitalism to recover something like prosperity. Trump rides the tide of that ignominious failure!
In terms of the Western Hemisphere the most celebrated, nearly mythical of fascists was Juan Peron. See Peron: A Biography by Joseph A. Page:
Peron was a Caudillo, the strong man, who enters the political frey and through his domination of that situation bring order out of chaos, the means deemed unimportant. In a sense he is the precursor of the 1976 Argentine Coup, a junta led by General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier-General Orlando Ramón Agosti that led to the Dirty War and the loss of 30,000 lives. Certainly not a ‘genocide’ but can only be viewed as politically motivated mass murder. One can only marvel that one or more of the Oxbridgers at The Economist are being maladroitly Eurocentric, while attempting to educate their readership on an American problem.
Sullivan, whose self-reported political evolution from Thatcherite, to Neo-Conservative, to Neo-Liberal, has been the subject of his narcissistic, self-exculpatory chatter: don’t forget his championing of the Bell Curve! His is not just tone deafness, but an inability to see that racism is endemic in American life and institutions, nor to see it in himself. Kagan is an unapologetic Neo-Conservative, meaning he is bona fide war monger and an apologist for a Zionism in it’s seemingly endless destructive terminal stage. Each of these two thinkers/writers/propagandists has, in their own way, contributed to the Trump phenomenon, although they would vigorously deny any such responsibility.