Why Trumpism as a fascist movement will not disappear

While some high-profile Republicans are ditching Donald Trump after a series of major losses for the party in 2018, 2020, and 2022, the political brand of “Trumpism,” an anti-democratic fascist movement, is not likely to disappear any time soon. Militant political movements that double as cults of personality often long outlive their demagogic leaders. As significant far-right ideologies, Trumpism and its Tea Party forerunner may continue as a potent force within the GOP for several decades. Ronald Reagan left office in 1989, but his philosophy of Reaganism, itself an outgrowth of Barry Goldwater’s brand of doctrinaire conservatism, was only recently discarded with the ascendancy of Trumpism. Goldwater’s extreme conservatism was emblematic of a party that had, for thirty years, dabbled in the extremism of the pro-Nazi Germany American First movement in the 1930s and early 1940s, the postwar Red Scare politics of Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, and the unhinged conspiracy theories of the John Birch Society.

In the sense that Trumpism’s propagandists, including Steve Bannon, Ben Shapiro, Tucker Carlson, and retired Lieut. Gen. Michael Flynn, use the term “populism” to describe their movement, this is an attempt to paint a fascist ideology as a popular movement. Populism was the mask that Charles Lindbergh, radio preacher Father Charles Coughlin, American Nazi Party fuhrer George Lincoln Rockwell, Liberty Lobby chief Willis Carto, and others of the far-right used to hide their true philosophy, that of fascism.

Fascism has always exploited the uninformed and ignorant masses to advance a philosophy that has the ultimate goal of suppressing the electoral franchise, freedom of speech and thought, and even a free market economy, although fascists will argue otherwise. America has already seen Republican Party attempts to restrict the business decisions of certain high-tech industries and even Disney. Governmental control of private enterprise remains a centerpiece of fascist ideology. It remains incumbent on pro-democracy parties everywhere that to contribute to parties like the U.S. Republicans, British and Canadian Conservatives, and others that have drifted into fascist territory is to slit their own throats.

Although Adolf Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin bunker in April 1945, his Nazi ideology continues to permeate alt-right politics to this day. Two days prior to Hitler’s death, Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini — Il Duce — was shot by a firing squad in Italy. Italian fascism would eventually be reborn under different leaders like Italy’s new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni. Along with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his Forza Italia party, Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) are deeply rooted in Mussolini’s fascist ideology.

Although democratic parties around the world celebrated former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recent close victory over the fascist Jair Bolsonaro, two things should be pointed out. Lula narrowly edged out Bolsonaro 50.9 to 49.1 percent, which means that nearly half of the Brazilian electorate opted for Bolsonaro’s authoritarianism. Additionally, Bolsonaro’s illogically-named Liberal Party won the most seats in the Chamber of Deputies, which has forced Lula’s left-wing Workers’ Party to form a coalition with the right-of-center União Brasil to support his government. The U.S. House of Representatives, which has a razor-thin Republican majority, means that President Biden will face a dilemma similar to that of Lula in forging a coalition with opposition conservatives who are not election deniers and fascist firebrands in order to pass important legislation.

Despite Bolsonaro’s loss, Bolsonarism will remain a potent force in Latin American politics, along with other far-right cults of personality movements that continue to laud such figures as Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the World War II fascistic policies of Argentina’s strongman Juan Peron. Peronism suffered a political split in the late 1990s, with the dominant branch of left-wing Peronism taking political power under the presidencies of Nestor Kirchner; his widow, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner; and current President Alberto Fernández. Peronism has been unique among fascist movements. There is no “moderate” wing of Trumpism. Florida’s recently re-elected governor, Ron DeSantis — the so-called “un-Trump” — is just as fascist-oriented as Trump, albeit without much of the bombastic carnival barker rhetoric displayed by the former president. Several leading Republicans have publicly identified with such fascist leaders as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Bolsonaro, Meloni, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As was the case with Biden’s low poll ratings, French President Emmanuel Macron also suffered poor opinion polls prior to this year’s presidential election in France. Nevertheless, Macron defeated Marine Le Pen, his far-right neo-fascist National Rally opponent, in the second-round election. The results were not even close with Macron receiving 58.5 percent to Le Pen’s 41.4. However, as with the cases of Brazil and the United States, Macron’s party lost its absolute majority in the National Assembly, where Le Pen’s party won a record 89 seats and became a political force to be reckoned with.

Like cancer, fascism can be placed into remission but it can never be fully eradicated. Countries like Germany, France, Austria, Netherlands, and others have anti-Nazism laws on the books, but the far-right is always looking for ways to maneuver around them.

The only way to combat the re-emergence of fascism as a potent political force is by holding far-right parties legally responsible for the actions of its members and affiliates. In addition, the foreign financial support, including that from Russia, Turkey, and China for far-right parties and politicians should be exposed and rigorously prosecuted, particularly in countries like the United States, which bans foreign contributions to political parties and candidates. Russia, for example, has spent at least $300 million on covert political financing abroad. Turkey’s neo-fascist Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been linked to material support for ethnic Turkish politicians in Germany, Netherlands, Austria, and the United States. It is also incumbent on the media to use the “F” word and refer to the far-right as fascists, not with revisionist descriptions like alt-right, extremist, and ultra-conservative.

Holding far-right parties and leaders to account for promoting hate speech and violence is the Achille’s heel for these inheritors of German Nazism and Italian fascism. The law should be used as a sledgehammer on these purveyors of chaos

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2022 WayneMadenReport.com

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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