Yesterday, I highlighted two articles about Trump supporters. The first by George Lakoff examines the “strict father” conservative/”nurturent mother” liberal frames and tries to understand Trump supporters by looking at why Trump is effective with them. The second article by Emma Lindsay looks at how racism plays into the liberal-consesrvative debate. She argues that for liberals to call someone “racist” is the end of the argument. It implies they are morally deficient and that they now have to leave the field of debate. But Trump strategically uses racist language to consolidate his base. It is important to understand how and why this works if we are to actively engage in restoring self-worth and human dignity in our country.
Today I want to add Chris Hedges’ recent column on the Trump phenomenon, The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism. (Thanks John D for sending this one in!) Hedges’ historical review of the rise of fascists movements in Europe and what they teach us about today is very good. His tone is somewhat grating and you have to wade through some far-left rhetoric. He concludes that civil society has to figure out how to re-enfranchise the base because the established political parties have abandoned the base. Here’s an excerpt:
The Democrats are playing a very dangerous game by anointing Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate. She epitomizes the double-dealing of the college-educated elites, those who speak the feel-your-pain language of ordinary men and women, who hold up the bible of political correctness, while selling out the poor and the working class to corporate power.
The Republicans, energized by America’s reality-star version of Il Duce, Donald Trump, have been pulling in voters, especially new voters, while the Democrats are well below the voter turnouts for 2008. In the voting Tuesday, 5.6 million votes were cast for the Democrats while 8.3 million went to the Republicans. Those numbers were virtually reversed in 2008—8.2 million for the Democrats and about 5 million for the Republicans.
But do read Hedges whole piece for the analysis of fascism. And also see Jim Wallis’ America’s Flirtation with Fascism. By raising this explosive “f-word” one needs to be cautious not to blithely personalize it. “If fascism is happening, then these people must be fascists.” Not necessarily because it’s not true, but because it’s not helpful. Facism is an ideology that can be used to achieve certain ends. We have to understand it in order to fight it.