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Fascist Trump, Neoliberal Hillary, and Progressive Bernie: Three Contrasting Performance Styles

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I was curious about the big show of humanity Donald Trump assembled in the old Dixie stronghold of Mobile, Alabama, supported by nativist Senator Jeff Sessions, so I watched the entire Trump Alabama rally, and some others of his too. Trump was surprisingly entertaining, for the limited range of ideas he possesses, and at this point I find it hard to pull away from any of his antics.

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Donald Trump assembling white power in Mobile, Alabama, and getting GREAT ratings, as he likes to repeatedly boast.

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At first glance Trump would seem to fit the mold of the pure fascist better than George W. Bush, but in the end I would have to conclude that this is not quite the case. I'm always cautious about applying the term fascist, though I did so to the project I saw emerging (though never fully realized) during the peak of belligerence in the early Bush years, and I also reevaluated my early judgment and brought the situation up to date in the aftermath of the 2012 election.

Trump's entire spiel is centered around how they--the immigrants, foreign countries like China and Mexico--have screwed us out of the wealth and prosperity we deserve, and how he, the duly elected strongman (though he wishes there were no elections and he could get in to do the job of the "killer" negotiator based on the strength of current polls alone) will outwit and outmuscle these wily powers (it's always the state he rails against, or corporations and entities backed by the state) to regain America's fair share; just as he personally embodies the American state, he will take on diverse states personified by other individuals like "Abi" of Japan. Oh, he loves the Saudis, the Chinese, even the Mexicans, how could he not, they buy his properties for forty million dollars, they have money and he must do business with them, but he will execute the "art of the deal," which he knows better than any diplomatic namby-pamby like Caroline Kennedy or any other political appointee, and thereby make America great again.

America has been made weak by those without patriotic feeling, politicians who sell the country down the drain on behalf of corporations like Ford and Nabisco which relocate abroad. The only thing that will save us is when America becomes profitable again, but profits must be procured in the name of the nation, and he, Trump, will hire the kind of "horrible" people who will ensure such profits on our behalf.

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Trump is a continuous stream-of-consciousness articulator of all the ignorant resentments--against uppity women and gays and African Americans and Hispanics and Asians, against Germany and Japan and Korea whom we still "protect" at great cost without getting anything in return, against Middle Eastern countries whom we strengthen and support at the cost of our only ally Israel--that I first heard injected in the body politic about twenty-five years ago when right-wing talk radio came into its own.

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Anis Shivani is the author of several critically acclaimed books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, including Anatolia and Other Stories (2009), Against the Workshop: Provocations, Polemics, Controversies (2011), The Fifth Lash and Other Stories (more...)

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