Donald Trump's America Would Be Fascist, Says Washington Post Columnist -- But Do Experts Agree?

Greg Hoadley

Donald Trump is the living epitome of how fascism comes to America, a Washington Post opinion piece by Robert Kagan declared.

The piece analyzed why Trump is so popular amongst his followers, and how it is that he has been embraced -- albeit grudgingly -- by the Republican Party, whose generally conservative values often contradict his own.

But rather than ideology, what has attracted so many voters to Trump has been the man himself, Kagan writes.

"What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence."

Trump has risen to the top by playing upon people's "fear, hatred and anger," and by attacking "others," including women and ethnic and religious minorities who get depicted by Trump "as threats or as objects of derision."

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The "tough-guy, get-mad-and-get-even approach" has probably surprised even Trump, Kagan wrote, but it has also "become something larger than him, and something far more dangerous," which America's founders feared and so tailored the U.S. Constitution to guard against: mob rule centered not upon any coherent ideology, but a larger-than-life personality.

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"Whatever the threat, internal or external, he could vanquish it, and it was unnecessary for him to explain how," said Kagan.

The most obvious form of fascism today, according to Kagan, is "Putinism," personified by Russian president Vladimir Putin. But this fascism, Kagan fears, is coming to America in the form of Donald Trump.

"To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the Republican Party today," said Kagan.

"When controlled and directed by a single leader, it can be aimed at whomever the leader chooses. If someone criticizes or opposes the leader, it doesn't matter how popular or admired that person has been. He might be a famous war hero, but if the leader derides and ridicules his heroism, the followers laugh and jeer... But if he hesitates to support the leader, he faces political death."

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But is Donald Trump truly a fascist? Dylan Matthews, a writer at Vox, disagrees with Kagan, saying Trump is "simply a racist who wants to keep the current system but deny its benefits to groups he's interested in oppressing."

Matthews cites Roger Griffin, professor of history and political theory at Oxford Brookes University.

"You can be a total xenophobic racist male chauvinist bastard and still not be a fascist," Matthews quoted Griffin, who insists that true fascism involves the complete overthrow of an existing democratic system, which Trump does not.

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Republicans do not agree, either. However, many longtime conservative pundits worry about the effect Donald Trump has had on the Republican Party being based upon certain ideas and ideals.

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Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and now a columnist with the Washington Post, called Trump the "cave man candidate" whose rise has brought about "the white flag of ideological surrender."

Columnist George Will went so far to say that conservatives should "help [Trump] lose 50 states."

Will advocates letting Hillary Clinton win, but then limiting her to one term -- after all, "Six times since 1945 a party has tried, and five times failed, to secure a third consecutive presidential term."

The one time a party succeeded was in 1988, when George H.W. Bush got elected on the heels of Ronald Reagan's two terms but then lost in 1992 to Bill Clinton.

If Clinton likewise gets elected after two terms of Barack Obama, Will said, "Republicans can help Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, or someone else who has honorably recoiled from Trump, confine her to a single term."

Does Donald Trump exhibit or possess tenets of fascism? Why or why not? Please be sure to let us know what you think in the comments section below.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

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