So, now we have another celebrated liberal warning us about the impending Fascist threat, a.k.a., Donald Trump. This time, it’s Robert Reich, now on the faculty at Berkeley as a Professor of Public Policy, which means he can shoot off his mouth at just about any public issue at all.
So why not join the liberal ‘Trump’s a Fascist’ parade? After all, there are ‘good people’ on both sides, right?
This is how Reich describes Trump’s narrative: “Authoritarianism” isn’t adequate. It is fascism. Fascism stands for a coherent set of ideas different from – and more dangerous than – authoritarianism.”
Here are those ‘coherent’ ideas as listed by Reich.
1. The rejection of democracy, the rule of law and equal rights under the law in favor of a strongman who interprets the popular will.
2. The galvanizing of popular rage against cultural elites.
3. Nationalism based on a dominant “superior” race and historic bloodlines.
4. Extolling brute strength and heroic warriors.
5. Disdain of women and fear of non-standard gender identities or sexual orientation.
Reich explains how Trump uses these ideas to promote a Fascist approach to the 2024 campaign, differentiating for each idea how Trump’s Fascist philosophy is not the same as typical authoritarian narratives and beliefs.
There’s only one little problem with Reich’s analysis – actually, there are three.
Problem #1. Trump’s 2024 campaign actually started on November 7th, 2020, when Rudy stood across the street from a porno shop in Philly and said that he and his buddies were going to uncover a ‘national’ conspiracy to steal the election from Trump. Their strategy was such a rejection of the ‘rule of law’ that they submitted legal briefs to more than 60 courts, all of which were thrown out.
Problem #2. Those ‘heroic warriors’ who ran into the Capitol on January 6th were so heroic that as soon as they got tired of rummaging through Nancy Pelosi’s desk, they all disappeared. The students who did an anti-war sit-down at Harvard’s Widener Library in 1969 lasted longer than that.
Problem #3. Last month Reich wrote another op-ed about Trump’s 2024 campaign and in that analysis, there was no mention of anything having to do with Fascism at all. So, in June Trump’s narrative was all about his personal grievances, in July he’s now leading a Fascist revolt.
Meanwhile, not only has Trump’s public statements changed not one bit over the past thirty days, or the past eight years for that matter, but none of the crimes listed in those indictments so far can match up against the biggest crime that Trump commits almost every day, namely, (to paraphrase my dear friend the late Jimmy Breslin) Trump’s becoming a big bore.
The only reason that Trump keeps getting any media attention is because the rest of the GOP 2024 primary field are such a bunch of flubs that if you own a media network and focus on DeSantis, Christie, or Pence, you won’t own that network much longer because your network won’t have anyone watching its shows.
Here’s the bottom line on why Robert Reich should stick to labor issues and leave discussions about political ideologies alone.
What made Fascists like Hitler, Mussolini and Franco different from your ordinary, run-of-the-mill authoritarians was the degree to which their ascent political authority was based primarily on the deployment and use of regular armed forces (Franco) or widespread, organized and continuous violence committed by private, uniformed militias numbering in the tens of thousands (Mussolini) of the hundreds of thousands (Hitler) who were paid for their work.
Want to compare the putzes who invaded the Capitol on January 6th to the Black Shirts who marched on Rome in 1922 or the SA squads that assaulted Jews, radicals and other ‘enemies’ of Germany in city after city leading up to 1933?
What is never discussed by fear-mongers like Reich is how remarkably law abiding and peaceful American politics have been since the end of the Civil War. The United States is the only industrialized country which did not experience the kind of widespread violence that threatened or overthrew every other Western government that made the transition from monarchical authority to representative government in the decades before or after World War I. We are also the only elective government which has never been threatened by mass, anti-government movements from either the Left or the Right.
Finally, and this may be the most important factor of all in preventing this country from sliding into a non-democratic abyss, is the remarkable degree of racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity of our national population, which keeps appeals to a so-called dominant population strand on the fringes of discussion and belief.
The one great challenge this country has faced in terms of a prevailing ideology that promoted some people as being better than others was the challenge of white versus black following the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865.
Whose name is going on a national monument today? Emmett Till or George Rockwell, okay?