Why you should stop calling Donald Trump a fascist
"Fascist" is often used as a cheap, meaningless insult in U.S. politics. But recently, it's become a serious charge that elected officials, political operatives and pundits on both sides of the aisle have lobbed at GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
After Trump suggested he'd back a federal registry for Muslims residents, Wall Street Journal conservative columnist Bret Stephens called the idea "fascism, plain and simple." Recounting Trump’s passive responses to violence committed by his supporters, CNN commentator Sally Kohn said on Wednesday, “There’s a word for this: fascism.”
Max Boot, a scholar of foreign affairs who is advising Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), was more direct:
Some of Trump's rhetoric does invoke the tyrannical speeches of fascist leaders of the past. Asked about his plans to track American Muslims, Trump ominously told Yahoo News last month, "Certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country."
But the key aspects of fascism are at odds with Trump's persona and his message. For all his bluster, a President Trump wouldn't pursue the authoritarian, collectivist agenda that characterized Germany's Nazi Party and Italy's Benito Mussolini, at least not according to what he's said so far about his political views. Calling Trump a fascist risks misleading voters about his agenda, which is not that much different from that of his rivals for the GOP presidential nod.