Even the most ardent Trump supporters admit that Donald Trump's behavior is, at best, unusual, or, at worst, bizarre and unhinged. While many of his supporters believe his behavior is somehow connected to the bluntness and political incorrectness called for to be a successful businessman, many of his opponents attribute his behavior to the more sinister and well-designed plan to transform our democracy into a fascist state. Other opponents see Trump's behavior as the manifestation of some form of mental illness. It is surprising that so many people find it credible to believe that Trump is mentally deranged rather than a budding fascist given the abundance of evidence that Trump is a fascist who is aligned with Russia's Vladimir Putin.
Fascism is often used as a pejorative and equated with Nazism, although not all fascists have been Nazis. To lessen the derogatory sting of "fascism," some observers have substituted "authoritarianism," "totalitarianism," or "illiberal democracy" as less incendiary substitutes. Nazism is only one of the many different types of fascism. Compared to Nazism, for example, Italian fascism was syncretic and did not have a coherent ideology.
Characteristics of Fascism
While many analysts of fascism have identified various characteristics of fascism, there is a remarkable consistency in what they found. Two analysts, Henry Wallace and Umberto Eco, are of particular interest because their analyses were conducted during or shortly after World War II and were based on their personal experiences with fascism. Their explanations of the dynamics of fascism show the truth that Donald Trump and many of his Republican supporters are without question fascist.
Henry Wallace, Vice President of the U.S. (1941-1945) identified several characteristics that he believed described American fascists. Some of the characteristics he identified in 1944 include the following:
The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants " to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power;
A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religious, cultures, regions, or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends;