By Mark G.E. Kelly, TELOS
In this article, I argue against the prevalent tendency, both in popular and scholarly discourse, to understand the Trump presidency as representing an incipient American fascism. I point out that Trump’s actual administration has shown no features distinctive of fascism, and that all alleged fascist policies of Trump are deeply in continuity with the pattern of liberal U.S. politics. I further argue that the most extraordinary aspect of Trump’s presidency, his strident rhetoric, while representing a deviation from U.S. politics as usual, is nonetheless not distinctively fascist. Lastly, I point out that, while Trump’s rhetoric and policies have drawn him support from literal fascists, he has little real connection with them and has largely disappointed rather than encouraged them. Instead, I suggest that Trump’s presidency represents the opposite of robust use of state power we associate with fascism, namely, a further decline in federal executive power in favor of the power of corporations. I conclude by suggesting that the increase of the censorious power of Big Tech, in particular, represents a far greater threat to democracy than Trump, and that the left’s monomaniacal focus on opposing Trump has allowed this tendency to go unchecked.