Campus News

Why I’ll no longer call Trump a Fascist

Charlie Gstalder is a first-year English major. He is a staff writer for the Newswire from Westchester, N.Y.

Donald Trump is a fascist… is the sentence I will no longer be saying. Let me make myself clear: This is not because I no longer believe that Trump is a fascist. Rather, I feel that saying such brings me no closer to my ultimate goal: ending his presidency as soon as possible.
Before I delve into the reasons I will no longer call Trump a fascist, I will explain why he is one.
Definitions of fascism vary and significant discourse exists in the academic communities devoted to its study. In light of this, I will be drawing from Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on fascism for my analysis of fascism’s common characteristics.
The first characteristic is extreme nationalism. For evidence of extreme nationalism, one must look no further than Trump’s foreign policy strategy of “America First.” Under America First principles, everything from trade to armed conflict is viewed through the lens of a “what’s in it for me” philosophy.
Some examples of Trump’s extreme nationalism are the Trade War, the abandonment of the Kurds and the U.S.-China withdrawal from both the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Climate Accord.
Historically, ultranationalism has entailed a rejection of immigrants, which brings me to the next aspect of fascism Trump embodies: scapegoating. It began with the announcement of his campaign when he characterized South and Central American immigrants as the reason for crime, drug abuse and sexual assault in the United States.
Since then, the scapegoating has only intensified, resulting in false paranoia of an immigrant caravan invasion, the construction of a wall along our southern border and a travel ban that came to be known as the Muslim ban.
It is worth noting that Trump’s travel ban recently grew after weeks of anticipation and now bans an additional six major countries in Africa from immigrating to the United States.
The last aspect of fascism I’ll focus on, for the sake of space, is the desire for totalitarianism. Trump makes no secret of his desire for total power. On multiple instances he has broached the idea of staying president for more than two terms. In 2019, he attempted to funnel congressionally allotted military funding into the construction of a border wall. He fired James Comey during an investigation into his own misconduct and attempted to do the same to Robert Mueller. Most recently, Trump argued that Article 2 of the Constitution gives him the power to do “whatever I want.”
So, why am I no longer calling him a fascist? Because it doesn’t affect him. Because if calling him a fascist accomplished anything, then me saying so and listing the above reasons would have been enough to turn public favor against him. Because I, and those much more powerful than I, have been calling him a racist, a sexist, a rapist, a liar, a serial abuser, a hypocrite and a fascist since 2015 and it hasn’t worked. Nothing has changed.
The presidency I expected to last one year has made it four. He has survived federal investigations, impeachment, near mutiny and more scandals than I can count, and he is still president. I am done calling him a fascist because it doesn’t work. It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t matter how many people stand in the streets with hand-painted signs and tears streaming down their faces, it doesn’t matter how many women come forward with accusations of rape or how many groups of people he dehumanizes. None of it affects him.
I’ve been calling him a fascist for years and nothing’s changed. So maybe it’s time to switch strategies.

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