Trump as a Fascist --
If you have what Joe McCarthy called "fellow travelers" as your Facebook friends, you've heard this narrative: "Omigod we all have to vote for Joe Biden because Donald Trump is a FASCIST!" I wrote a diary about this topic back in April: "The Trump-As-Dictator narrative." In this old diary, I wrote:
And you also don't see the Dems resisting in situations where they obviously could -- but instead back in January you read headlines such as this one: Democrats just handed Trump more domestic surveillance powers. They should know better. They could also balk at passing Trump's defense budgets, but they haven't done that either. They don't seem terribly worried about any of the stuff described in this article either. And there's more they could do -- they could investigate Trump's personnel actions.
To be honest, the Democrats in power don't seem terribly afraid of a second Trump term. It's these offhand whispers that you read on Facebook and elsewhere from Biden supporters: "Omigod if Trump won we might not have a democracy anymore!" The people suggesting that stuff are afraid. As I suggested above, such utterances are weaponized to deter us from saying we won't vote for Joe Biden.
So that's the basic gist of it -- the Dem elites are totally okay with Trump being a Fascist dictator. Doesn't that make them Fascists too? Oh of course not! scream the Dem faithful. We're going to vote for them and they're going to beat Trump in free and fair elections because of course that's what Fascists do -- compete in free and fair elections. That's how we got rid of Hitler and Mussolini, right? We ran neoliberals with dementia against each of them and the neoliberals won. Right?
Uh-huh. The fact that they continue to use this sort of rhetoric without any sort of understanding of what it means to be a Fascist might be puzzling if you don't remember that Americans don't really think carefully about history while invoking it all the time.
At any rate, the current invasions of American cities (Chicago, Albuquerque, Portland, with more to come) in a sort of Police State Tour sponsored by Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos's brother Erik Prince has caused me to modify my opinion. Donald Trump is a Fascist -- but Donald Trump is a Showbiz Fascist, or a Teevee Fascist, choose your term.
Donald Trump has never made any of the preparations that actual Fascists have made for rule as Fascists. He has no plan for being dictator, he has no legion of brownshirts ready to enforce direct tyrannical rule (buying mercenaries from Erik Prince is the best cheap substitute he could find, and it came through the legacy of Bush Junior), he has no legal mandate for tyrannical rule (the NDAA Obama signed does not necessarily apply), he has no ideology of dictatorship (his two books are basically full of Republican pablum, and maybe he's spiced it up with a little anti-immigrant rhetoric, but that was about getting mere racists to vote for him), and he can't seem to get the masses in the blue states to be quiet about the fact that he's a Fascist and he can't get them to stop resisting him and his crap. Rather, Trump needs to be playing a Fascist on TV, and so to make his cinematic appearances believable, he's putting on a Fascist show in the abovenamed cities. He tried the Trump stage show, and that only succeeded in bringing more attention to COVID-19. He tried not wearing a mask, and that theater failed too, so he told everyone to wear a mask. He's canceled the Jacksonville convention. So he needs a theater, and this is it.
People who think that Trump policy has a point beyond the projection of his beloved theater miss the point. For instance, there are theories being circulated about how Trump wants to reopen the schools to kill people off. Reopening the schools may in fact kill people off. And Trump certainly doesn't care if they do. But that's not the point. The point is to give Trump a role to play. He made the trains run on time! (see e.g. Mussolini). He opened the schools despite a pandemic! Our hero -- let's make a movie about him or something. The fact that he has to lie about what's going on all the time should be a clue as to his general inattention to on-the-ground facts. Look, for instance, at the border wall. Obama paid more actual attention to it than he did!
This was, moreover, always the point. Trump was out there playing a role, because that was what this was to him -- reality TV. Being President had to be like doing The Apprentice or WWE Smackdown, because that's what Donald Trump knew. And it's still that way. You all don't seriously think anything has changed in that regard over the past four years, do you?
By the way, it's really hard for me to see how a Joe Biden Presidency is going to be all that much better than the one we're experiencing now. Oh, I'm sure it will make better TV, because one thing that distinguishes Donald Trump from the rest is that he can't tell the difference between good TV and bad TV, and so he is bad TV. So we can't help but get better TV from Biden, because Trump TV is so very very bad. But as for policy? On-the-ground reality? Only a truly heroic effort from the mass public will force the elites to change their current, bad, direction, regardless of who is or who becomes President. Voting for Joe Biden? Award yourself a trophy or something, and leave it at that. We need you for a different role.