The persona Donald Trump is floating these days puts him on the same page as, say, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro or Hungary’s Viktor Orban, or their counterparts in Slovakia, Poland, and elsewhere in what Donald Rumsfeld famously called “the new Europe.” From his “bully pulpit,” the Trump persona is an inspiration for neo-fascists in “the old Europe” too and indeed throughout the world.
I say “persona” because I don’t think that temperamentally or ideologically he actually is a fascist. I say this not to his credit, but because I think that the Donald is too much the narcissist to be anything that other-regarding. He is a conman, and playing the fascist card is part of the con he is working.
This is why his cult-like followers are even more distressing than Trump himself.
Of course, not everyone in the Trump base is a true believer. Many, maybe most of them are just ill informed and gullible, and then there seem to be some who know that they are being taken for a ride, but don’t mind. How pathetic is that!
Republicans in rural areas are especially inclined to want to buy the snake oil Trump is selling; so are white working class men of a certain age and the women who stand by them. The status anxieties and social dislocations from which they suffer – thanks to the vicissitudes of global capitalism, the malign neglect of the Democratic Party, and the decline of the union movement — have rendered them vulnerable.
The MAGA bomber, Cesar…