Creeping American fascism

by | Nov 24, 2015 | 2016 Elections, Editor's Blog, NC Politics | 6 comments

I generally disregard any politician, operative or pundit who calls people Nazis or fascists because it’s almost always over-the-top hyperbole. However, the tone of the Trump campaign certainly sounds and looks a lot like the early days of the Nazis and Mussolini’s fascists. In Italy and Germany following World War I, fascist leaders railed against minorities, communists and socialists while condoning mob violence against them.

But we don’t have to look to Europe. We can see the same strains of intolerance in our own history. White Democrats at the turn of the 20th century rallied working class whites to attack and disenfranchise African-Americans. In the sixties, Jesse Helms and George Wallace exploited racism and social upheaval to further their political careers.

Trump has built a campaign tapping into the angst and anger of working class whites, blaming immigrants and minorities for their woes. Last weekend, an African-American protester was physically assaulted at a Trump rally and after the incident, The Donald said, “Maybe he should have been roughed up.” Inciting and encouraging people to physically silence protesters shows a disturbing disregard for the First Amendment and looks a lot like American fascism.

Trump’s rhetoric has moved other Republican candidates to follow his lead. All of the GOP presidential field rushed to bash Hispanic immigrants after Trump called them “rapists” and saw his numbers rise. Nothing seems out of bounds and beating up on the people least able to defend themselves scores big political points.

In North Carolina, the mentality is creeping into Pat McCrory’s re-election campaign. In the wake of pay-to-play scandals and three years of cronyism, the governor is trying to shift the conversation to Syrian refugees and transgender bathrooms. He would much rather appeal to fear and prejudice than good government and sound policies.

Last week, after announcing that he was signing a letter to President Obama asking to halt the flow of refugees, McCrory sent out a fundraising email appeal with a screen reading “No Syrian refugees.” Clearly, the McCrory campaign saw the issue as a political opportunity more than sound policy.

Then yesterday, McCrory, out of the blue, asked Attorney General Roy Cooper to join a law suit in Virginia that would ban transgender teens from using school bathrooms designated for the gender with which they identify. McCrory’s move is a cynical attempt to force Cooper to take a stance on a divisive issue that has proven to be a wedge issue in other states. Really, though, it’s just another example of a Republican exploiting other peoples’ struggles for political gain. This time, it’s not refugees but transgender teens. What a bunch of bullies.

But then, that’s the legacy of the Trump campaign. Bullying people is good, minorities are targets, and people who stand up for them are the enemy. It’s a sad commentary on the state of the country. Let’s hope the forces of reaction lose and let’s hope that our leaders have the courage to stand up to them.


  1. Greg Dail

    The only mob violence I’ve seen in the past 45 years in this country has been minority riots or leftist mob violence (apart from the school desegregation riots in Boston back in 73-74 but that’s a liberal state so it never really happened, wink wink). But you may recall the mob violence in Germany pre-WW II was perpetrated by one leftist mob (communists) against another leftist mob (fascists) or vis versa.
    The American middle-class doesn’t riot and break the law to call attention to the fact the law is being broken and/or ignored. Hell you can’t even get them out to peacefully protest unless they’re on the clock (see union workers). I guess that’s why Trump’s crowds scare the living crap out of you people. An energized, aware and po’d middle-class is your worst nightmare.

  2. Laughing Conservative

    Thomas Mills comes on the radio essentially claiming that foreigners have a “constitutional right” to enter the country. What a liar. He knows that no such right exists but he knows the talk show host won’t call him out on his lie. How can you take anyone like this serious??

  3. A. D. Reed

    Why is it so difficult to say this: Trump is a fascist, plain and simple.

    There should be no hesitation in naming him so. Anyone who has read and studied the rise of the fascists in Italy, and of Hitler in Germany, cannot dispute that Trump’s playbook is lifted directly from theirs.

    In 2012 candidate Rand Paul stood by while one of his staffers stomped a woman’s head against the sidewalk curb; nothing happened to the staffer, Rand paid no price, and he went straight into the Senate. His father Ron had spent years publishing the writings of avowed racists, and paid no price, including among the “libertarians” among his fanbase. Bush and Cheney and the entire Republican establishment–aided by a complacent media–declared anyone in opposition to their war policies a traitor, and faced no repercussions except a second stolen election.

    The escalation, step by step, from Cheney to Ron to Rand to Trump is clearly and blatantly modeled on the rise of the fascist movement in Europe. Having successfully demonized Hispanics and, particularly, Mexican immigrants, they now turn to Syrian refugees. Having demonized GLBT people for decades (and finally lost), they create new laws to demonize them again. Having lost, 40 years ago, the politico-religious fight against women’s rights to an abortion, they create entire new legal structures to undermine, override, and evade Roe v. Wade. Having lost the presidential demographic race, they turned to taking over the states, one by one, with a long-planned secret strategy funded by oligarchs.

    “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” It will also be funded by unaccountable billionaires and corporations answerable to no-one, many with tax-avoiding headquarters overseas, and as soon as it takes power in any venue–state houses, school boards, Congress, state and federal courts–it will change the rules and laws to ensure that it cannot be deposed from power. Viz., redistricting, overturning established legal precedents, constricting and restricting the right to vote, and many other changes we see at every level, every day.

    Which of their tactics, strategies, and methodologies is NOT fascist? None.

  4. HunterC

    Yes, let’s do hope our leaders have the courage to stand up to them.

    I’m just not holding my breath when the likes of Gary Pearce is telling folks Roy Cooper got it right by joining McCrory (and the Trump-fascists of the election cycle) in beating up on refugees.

    With friends like Pearce…

  5. Maurice Murray

    Trump has budgeted $300 million for his campaign, which is over twice as much as Big Brother Bush has. He has proven the willingness to fight back against any Republicons who are daring enough to attack him and bounced back from the attack ads funded by the Club for Growth.

    He has been calling his opponent “Marco Amnesty” and is still the frontrunner.

  6. Matt Christie

    National and international political context matters, and we must hold not fail to hold our NC politicians responsible for their public statements within that context.

    Let’s do more than hope. Especially in light of last night’s news from Minneapolis.

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