The Trump Conundrum — A Problem the World Needs to Solve
How do you defeat a self-serving, anti-intellectual, nihilistic authoritarian?
Trump is gone, but through his “Office of the former president” and his goons in Congress, his shadow lingers over American politics. His rhetoric and neo-fascism will continue to threaten democracy for years to come. Many of the commenters on my Trump articles tell me to move on and stop talking about the man, but unless we understand what went wrong and why, Trumpism will continue to tighten its grip on American politics until, someday, a smarter, deadlier incarnation of it appears, takes power and the nukes that go with it.
Right now, humanity faces existential challenges, one of which is fascism. We have battled with this virus for over a century, and still, it keeps coming back. How is it that we never learn to identify it and nip it in the bud? We have so many examples from history, yet we keep falling in the same traps.
One possible explanation is that, as long as fascism survives somewhere on earth, democracy isn’t safe. Much like smallpox, unless it is totally and globally eradicated, fascism will endure and eventually come back. As racist and xenophobic as fascist movements are, they all adhere to an informal Fascist International, supporting each other and allowing the ideas to fester and endure.
Another reason is that fascism always gets discarded until it is too late. Those of us who see it coming and ring the bell are dubbed alarmists and fearmongers. Keep in mind that fascism is a bourgeois movement, deeply rooted in the middle-class racial majority. Fascists are everyday people who seek the status quo and don’t mind if it is enforced through segregation, violence, and injustice. It’s enough to look at the mob's demographic makeup that stormed the Capitol to see that this is true in America as it was true in Germany and Italy before. To quote Buenaventura Durruti, a famous Spanish Civil War anarchist fighter:
No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges.
A third reason that makes Trump’s form of fascism hard to combat has to do with his…