Trump and Fascism?

Trump Stump

As the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump took off, white nationalists across the country rallied to his message



One Expert Says, Yes, Donald Trump is a Fascist. And It’s Not Just Trump.



Fascist revolution doesn’t turn back the clock: a reply to Alexander Reid Ross on Trump ~…

Fascist revolution doesn’t turn back the clock: a reply to Alexander Reid Ross on Trump By Matthew N Lyons |…



“Fascism’s revolutionary vision invokes an idealized image of the past, but it does so in the service of creating a new order, not just restoring old traditions…. It’s not true that white nationalist far rightists in the U.S. ‘have always upheld segregation and a racialized caste system as an ultimate ideal.’ Actually most of them moved beyond old-style segregationism decades ago, toward newer visions, such as creating a white separatist enclave through secession, dividing the entire U.S. into apartheid-style racial homelands, or exterminating Jews and people of color entirely.”


Chip Berlet

January 6 · Burlington, MA, United States ·

The “main contradiction” — to coin a phrase — is to recognize the debate over Trump (and Cruz–and the others) is fascinating; but no matter the position either way, the demand of integrity is to take concrete action to defend those under attack. That is the main philosophical contribution of Arendt, and the heroic response of the White Rose Society in Germany in the face of the fascist genocide. If these references seem oblique, I beg all of you to do some Internet searches. Time is short. Our tasks are clear. Stand up. Speak out. History will record if we succeed–but history judges us as to whether or not we tried to stop the juggernaut of bigoted violence–no matter what the definition.


January 7 ·


Cruz and the Evangelical Illusion



Cruz and the Evangelical Illusion

Just after Christmas, Ted Cruz met with several hundred evangelical leaders at a Texas ranch belonging to Farris Wilks, a fracking billionaire who, along with his brother Dan and their wives, have donated $15 million to Keep the Promise II, a SuperPac…




Anti-union SCOTUS Challenge Threatens Church-State Separation: via @theprospect



Anti-union SCOTUS Challenge Threatens Church-State Separation

The Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case not only puts public-sector unions in danger, it risks opening a new chapter in the war over religion in public…



What does it actually mean when somebody complains about political correctness?

Cartoon for Jan. 6, 2016.



Chip Berlet Check out this version of the Wikipedia entry before it was hijacked by conservative fanatics.…

Political correctness – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Political correctness (adjectivally, politically correct, commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term primarily used as a pejorative to describe language, policies, or measures which are intended not to offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society; in pejorative usage, those who use th…



January 8 ·


Quotes from Hanna Arendt on police collaboration with Fascism. File under Macho Militarism among Republicans?



Police Repression

Police Repression Notes… Quotes from Hanna Arendt on police ethos “It is true, ascendancy of the secret police over the military  apparatus is the hallmark of many tyrannies, and not only the  totalitarian; however, in the case of totalitarian government the  preponderance of the police not merely a…



Pro-Republican fanatic Denounces Hillary as Communist

A writer for the vicious Islamophobic website Front Page run by ex-leftist David Horowitz has smeared Hillary Clinton as a communist.  According to writer Daniel Greenfield, described as an expert on “radical Islam” Clinton in her nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic convention on Thursday gave “a speech that could have been given in Moscow during the Cold War

“Yesterday’s crazy radical idea is tomorrow’s Democratic slogan. Yesterday’s Alinsky disciple is tomorrow’s moderate Democrat. Yesterday’s Communist notion is tomorrow’s DNC speech.”

The headline for Greenfield’s hit piece is “Welcome to the Communist Party, U.S.A.”

According to Greenfield, “Hillary Clinton embraced wealth redistribution and re-appropriation from people who aren’t her. She embraced it with verve and gusto. She pushed Communism dressed up in references to the Founding Fathers. It takes a village to take away all our political and economic freedoms.

The sneering essay by Greenfield concluded with the charge that there is a name for the ideology behind Clinton’s speech and apparently the Democratic Party platform:

It comes with a hammer and sickle, with the color red, with gulags and firing squads, with little red books and big black prisons, and the death of the human soul.”

Read the full Greenfield essay here

Ode to Trump

(Use a Talkin’ Blues cadence)
Trump suffers from TMS
Testosterone Madness Syndrome’s pest
At Trump’s rallies, shake his hand
You’re pumping up an inflated gland
Trump’s Hard Rain better not fall
Trump compares himself to Tricky Dick
and makes Mike Pence his VP pick
Women in the kitchen, gays back in closet
Pence is the Christian Right’s deposit
Trump’s Hard Rain better not fall
Trump’s slapping his phallus on the table
We have to stop him if we’re able
Trump’s nasty rhetoric provokes violence
Which corporate media tunes to silence
Democracy, freedom? We’re in trouble
Time to organize, on the double!
Trump’s Hard Rain better not fall
(apologies to Bob Dylan)

Pacifica Radio needs some bread
So write a check before we’re dead
-Chip Berlet
CC: by-nc-nd/4.0

Trumped Up

Under Construction

A Random Collection of articles on Trump

The Trump Collection Landing Pages:



Trumping Democracy

by Chip Berlet



Notes on the Election

by Linda Burnham, April 15, 2016, Portside
Unfolding events of the past several months have confirmed that the presidential contest now underway is the most historically significant in at least the last 50 years. The reasons for this are several according to long-time activist Linda Burnham in this piece.

Trump Is Tricky Dick Nixon Redux, Running as the “Law and Order” Candidate






Trumping Democracy

This set of resources will help you understand
the mass support for Donald Trump

The Trump Collection Landing Pages:


What are the Core Elements of Right-Wing Populism in the United States that Produced Trump?
  • White Nationalist Racism and Ethnocentrism
  • Vilification and Demonization of a Scapegoated “Other”
  • Authoritarian Demagoguery & Scripted Violence
  • Xenophobia and Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric
  • Dividing the Nation into the “Producers” and the Parasites
  • Conspiracy Theories Claiming a Subversive Threat
  • Apocalyptic Warnings that Time is Running Out
  • Aggressive Misogynist and Heterosexist Male Egocentrism
  • Mobilizing Resentment for Political Gain
  • Undermining Democracy Itself

Producerist White Nationalism

Demonization & Scapegoating


  • Elites, Banksters, & Intellectuals
  • Money Manipulation
  • Liberal Treachery
  • Leftist Totalitarian Plots
  • Islamophophobia
  • Antisemitism

Apocalyptic Narratives &
Millennial Visions

  • Christian Nationalism
  • Apocalyptic Aggression


This page is based on my article “‘Trumping’ Democracy: Right-Wing Populism, Fascism, and the Case for Action.” 2015, December

and the book Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort with my co-author Matthew N. Lyons.

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Who Predicted Trump? Really?

With American Journalism having a research memory that at best extends back to the age of the Internet, here is a selective bibliography of serious work that anticipated the rise of a right-wing populist or proto-fascist Presidential candidate exploiting White Nationalism.

Annotations and more titles coming soon.

Clever Jumps:
Bibliography of books by George Seldes
Ernie Lazar’s Most Excellent Bibliography on the US Right
Political Research Associates Searchable Bibliography
Gigantic collection of bibliographies

—Chip Berlet: “From the KKK to the CCC to Dylann Roof:
White nationalism infuses our political ideology.”

Interview Ideas: Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and White Nationalism
—Kathleen Blee, University of Pittsburgh
—David Cunningham, Washington University (St. Louis)
—Bill Fletcher, Jr., racial justice, labor and international activist
—Gerald Horne, University of Houston
—Rory McVeigh, Notre Dame University
—Cas Mudde, University of George
—Ruby Sales, Spirit House, racial justice and human rights activist
Richard Steigmann-Gall, Kent State University

Curated Bibliography

Sinclair Lewis. (1935). It can’t happen here: A novel. Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Company.

George Seldes with Helen L. Seldes (1943). Facts and Fascism. New York: In Fact.

George Seldes (1947). One Thousand Americans. New York: Boni & Gaer.

Peter Fritzsche, Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990)

Margaret Canovan. (1981). Populism. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Dan T.Carter. (1995), The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY.

Peter Fritzsche, Germans into Nazis (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998).

Jean V. Hardisty. (1999). Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers. Boston: Beacon.

Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons. 2000. Right-wing populism in America: Too close for comfort. New York: Guilford Press.

Chip Berlet. 2003. Into the mainstream: An array of right-wing foundations and think tanks support efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable. Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, no. 110, (Summer): 53-58.

Jean V. Hardisty. (1995). “The Resurgent Right: Why Now?” The Public Eye, Fall–Winter. Revised and included in Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment.

Robert Altemeyer, The Authoritarian Specter, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1996.
Whole Book (PDF version 1.35Mb)
Postscript on the 2008 Election (PDF)

Robert Altemeyer, April 20, 2010, Comment on the Tea Party Movement
Comment on the Tea Party Movement (PDF)

Neiwert, David A. 2009. The eliminationists: how hate talk radicalized the American right. Sausalito, CA: PoliPoint Press.

Background Materials

L. Noël, Intolerance, A General Survey, trans. A. Bennett, Montreal: McGill–Queen’s Univ. Press, 1994;

E. Young–Bruehl, The Anatomy of Prejudices, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1996.

For an excellent overview, see E.R. Harrington, “The Social Psychology of Hatred,” Journal of Hate Studies, 2003/04, vol. 3, no.1,


Robert Alan Goldberg. Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001);

Michael Barkun, A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America, (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2003);

Daniel Pipes, The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996).

Early Work

Dollard, John, Leonard W. Doob, Neal E. Miller, Orval Hobart, Mowrer, Robert R. Sears, and Yale University Institute of Human Relations, Frustration and Aggression, (New Haven; London: Pub. for the Institute of Human Relations by Yale University Press; H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1939);

Theodor W, Adorno, Else Frenkel–Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson, and Nevitt Sanford with Betty Aron, Maria Hertz Levinson, and William Morrow. The Authoritarian Personality, (New York: Harper, 1950);

Gordon W. Allport,  1954. The nature of prejudice. New York: Basic Books.

Milton Rokeach, The Open and Closed Mind; Investigations into the Nature of Belief Systems and Personality Systems, (New York: Basic Books, 1960);

Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, (New York: Harper and Row, 1951).

The Trump Collection Landing Pages:
>>>The Trumping Democracy page for in-depth analysis of Trump’s use of right-wing populism
>>>Trumped Up: A collection of articles on Trump in reverse chronological order starting from July 2016
>>>Trumpism: Resources on Trump’s Voter Base

Fascism, Populism, and the Middle Class

Middle Class Right-Wing Populism as Core Element of Fascism

Fascism is a complex political current that parasitizes other ideologies, includes many internal tensions and contradictions, and has chameleon-like adaptations based on the specific historic symbols, icons, slogans, traditions, myths, and heroes of the society it wishes to mobilize. In addition, fascism as a social movement often acts dramatically different from fascism once it holds state power. When holding state power, fascism tends to be rigidly hierarchical, authoritarian, and elitist. As a social movement fascism employs populist appeals against the current regime and promises a dramatic and quick transformation of the status quo.In interwar Europe there were three distinct forms of fascism, Italian economic corporatist fascism (the original fascism), German racial nationalist Nazism, and clerical fascism exemplified by religious/nationalist movements in Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and the Ukraine, among others.

Right-wing populism can act as both a precursor and a building block of fascism, with anti-elitist conspiracism and ethnocentric scapegoating as shared elements. The dynamic of right-wing populism interacting with and facilitating fascism in interwar Germany was chronicled by Peter Fritzsche in Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany. Fritzsche showed that distressed middle-class populists in Weimar launched bitter attacks against both the government and big business. This populist surge was later exploited by the Nazis which parasitized the forms and themes of the populists and moved their constituencies far to the right through ideological appeals involving demagoguery, scapegoating, and conspiracism.

===”The Nazis expressed the populist yearnings of middle-class constituents and at the same time advocated a strong and resolutely anti-Marxist mobilization….Against “unnaturally” divisive parties and querulous organized interest groups, National Socialists cast themselves as representatives of the commonweal, of an allegedly betrayed and neglected German public….[b]reaking social barriers of status and caste, and celebrating at least rhetorically the populist ideal of the people’s community…”

This populist rhetoric of the Nazis, focused the pre-existing “resentments of ordinary middle-class Germans against the bourgeois ‘establishment’ and against economic and political privilege, and by promising the resolution of these resentments in a forward-looking, technologically capable volkisch ‘utopia,'” according to Fritzsche.

As Umberto Eco explains, however, the populist rhetoric of fascism is selective and illusive:

===”individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is a theatrical fiction….There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People….Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell…Fascism.”

Fritzsche observed that “German fascism would have been inconceivable without the profound transformation” of mainstream electoral politics in the 1920’s “which saw the dissolution of traditional party allegiances.” He also argued that the Nazis, while an electorally-focused movement, had more in common rhetorically and stylistically with middle class reform movements than backwards looking reactionary movements. So the Nazis as a movement appeared to provide for radical social change while actually moving its constituency to the right.

The success of fascist movements in attracting members from reformist populist constituencies is due to many complex overlapping factors, but key factors are certainly the depth of the economic and social crisis and transformation of, and the degree of anger and frustration of those who see their demands not being met. Desperate people turn to desperate solutions.

A Collection of Links in no apparent order



Special treat:


Trump, Right-Wing Populist Demagoguery, and Bigoted Violence

What’s Going On?

Right-wing Republicans, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz,
Fox News, Talk Radio, the Koch Brothers, the Tea Parties,
the Patriot movement, the Oath Keepers, the Oregon Standoff,
the New World Order conspiracy theories,
Obama is a Muslim?

It’s not one big conspiracy folks, but there are linkages and processes that are as old as the Presidency of Andrew Jackson
and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War.

Here is more bad news…even if Trump loses, the toxic bigotry he spews is a form of “scripted violence” that encourages angry people to harm and perhaps kill the scapegoated targets he identifies slyly as enemies of the “real” Americans: Angry White Men

How the Rhetoric of Right-Wing Populism
with its “Producerist” Conspiracy Theories
Fuels a Bigoted Right-Wing Juggernaut
Promoting White Nationalism

Available in these formats:

A Full Slide Show on Right-Wing Populism & “Producerist” Conspiracism:
As Web Pages (html)
MP4 VideoDownloadable PDF File

A Single-Page Chart
A Set of Connected Charts

The Trump Collection Landing Pages:

Progressive Security and Safety:
Threats from Right-Wing fanatics spurred on by demagogic political rhetoric have turned into isolated acts of violence against progressives. Pick up your self-defense homework here.

Ted Cruz, the Christian Right, and Dominionism

How the Right Took Power and the Failure of Liberal Infrastructures

Read more about it!

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Trump’s Demagoguery Threatens Democracy Itself

Now is the time for blunt talk. Donald Trump is a dangerous demagogue generating “scripted violence.” Trumpism threatens not just the First Amendment but democracy itself. I call him a right-wing populist using fascistic rhetoric to target scapegoated groups. Other journalists and scholars have dubbed him a fascist or a totalitarian. But we all smell the stench of the burning bodies.

So let us have our terminological debates, but setting aside all intellectual disagreements, as citizens of an increasingly unfree society, we must stand up and speak out.The First Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion, and that includes the right to call religion ridiculous. It protects devout Roman Catholics and those in the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster–even those who sometimes wear colanders as hats. At Talk to Action, where this essay was first posted, we are nonpartisan, welcome respectful contributions discussing human, civil, and constitutional rights, and find debates between theists and atheists annoying (no trolls blasting either are allowed). Democracy is what we cherish…and it is in trouble.

Some early studies of prejudice, demonization, and scapegoating treated the processes as marginal to “mainstream” society and an indication of an individual pathological psychological disturbance. More recent social science demonstrates that demonization is a habit found across various sectors of society among people who are no more prone to mental illness than the rest of society.Philosopher Hannah Arendt taught us that ordinary people can become willing–even eager–participants in brutality and mass murder justified by demonization of scapegoated groups in a society

Lawrence L. Langer raises this as a troubling issue regarding the Nazi genocide:

“The widespread absence of remorse among the accused in postwar trials indicates that we may need…to accept the possibility of a regimen of behavior that simply dismisses conscience as an operative moral factor. The notion of the power to kill, or to authorize killing of others, as a personally fulfilling activity is not appealing to our civilized sensibilities; even more threatening is the idea that this is not necessarily a pathological condition, but an expression of impulses as native to ourselves as love and compassion.”

A troubling concept–that some of us who helped jumpstart this website have discussed for decades–is that when most people in a society realize that a fascist movement might actually seize state power, it is too late to stop it. So let us act now: as Republicans, Democrats, Independents and the folks who think voting just encourages a corrupt system. As people of faith, the spiritual, the agnostic, and those who think that God is Dead because she doesn’t exist. We are all in the same lifeboat here. Grab an oar.

Facing History and Ourselves reminds us of the “Fragility of Democracy” in a series of essays by Professor Paul Bookbinder, an international expert on the Weimar Republic in Germany in the period just before that nation collapsed into the inferno of Nazi rule and genocide. No, we do not face a crisis like that faced by the German people in the 1920s and 1930s. Yet as Bookbinder observes, there were moments when Hitler’s thugs could have been stopped.

In her small yet powerful book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, Arendt concluded that evil was banal, and that if there was one clear universal truth, it is that ordinary people have a moral obligation to not look away from individual or institutional acts of cruelty or oppression. We recognize the processes that lead from words to violence, they are well-studied, and the theories and proofs are readily available. Silence is consent. Denial is complicity with evil.