It’s a word I avoid because it is used too loosely by the far left. But the behavior of both Trump and the Senate Republicans truly does suggest a deeper drift toward fascism.
One hallmark is absolute loyalty to a delusional leader and Big Lies. The Democrats and the media (except for Fox) dwell in a factual universe; Trump and his defenders are off in an alternative realm of their own imagination.
Fascism is also an alliance between a dictator and big business. Under Hitler, much of the German political and business elite simply turned a blind eye to the Führer’s abominations, because it served their other interests.
Another emblem of fascism is recourse to violence. On Sunday, Trump, chillingly, tweeted that Adam Schiff “has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our country!”
This is an invitation for some lunatic loyalist—“the Second Amendment crowd,” as Trump once slyly said in urging violence against Hillary Clinton—to harm the congressman. Schiff told NBC’s Meet the Press that he understood Trump’s tweet as a threat.
Also reminiscent of fascism is Trump’s use of foreign military adventures to whip up his nationalist base, as well as his demonizing of immigrants. And of course, we have not yet seen this year’s efforts to rig the election, which will surely come.
The future of the Republic may literally turn on one John Roberts. As two legal scholars joined by a former Republican congressman write in The New York Times, the chief justice as presiding officer over the Senate trial has the right to call witnesses on his own authority.
Will he? Roberts was vetted to be pro-corporate, anti-regulation, and socially conservative. But he’s partly a constitutional conservative who doesn’t seem to like Trump. It’s not quite clear how far Roberts would go to condone outright fascism—or defend democracy.
We will soon find out.