• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 98 comments on Are Trump Republicans Fascists?

  1. Mirriam-Webster definition of fascism:
    often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
    : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

    The above commonly understood definition does not limit fascism to a specific period of history. So If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck — let’s agree to call it a duck.

    There has been an enormous amount of economic and social turmoil in the past two decades —beginning with 9/11 and consequent ‘endless wars’, the 2008 economic and housing collapse, income stagnation and generational income inequality, racial injustice, and an existential climate crisis. I’d say young (and old) people are deeply disillusioned and worried.

    We may have all been taught democracy is important, but for those whom our capitalist democracy has failed — the luster may have tarnished.

    Thus, tragically, what we are witnessing now shows both the disillusioned, as well as the those who have benefited by the status quo and who want to stay in their position of privilege, can be swayed to believe that liberal democracy and the rule of law is obsolete, and yes, that fascism has allure.

    That’s where we are today.

      1. Just incorrect. Fascism has occurred over and over in many eras. The idea that nationalism racism and class control of resources with forced acceptance or death is relegated to a short period of history is misleading, and despite his OHD, saddled with naive ignorance. I’ve got a Ph.D as well, in social psychology, and what we are seeing is indeed fascism. Of course it looks a bit different, it’s 85 years later.

      1. Agreed. By the authors logic, you cannot use labels at all outside their historic time period. So we cannot call anyone socialist or communist or perhaps even capitalist.

        Trump was a fascist. Doesnt take a genius to see that lol.

    1. Exactly. Thank you for bringing in more context! I don’t see the logic in relegating the word fascist to just the interwar period of the 1900’s.

    2. It’s correct to say that any discussion of the meaning of the term “fascism,”must begin with its origins during the interwar period. But to rigidly adhere to direct comparison with a bygone age, with its own particular politics, economy, and social structure is futile. What’s important is to identify elements applicable to today. The duplicity of conservatives is one example, as is the rise of white nationalism and the fear of immigrants. But there are other, more insideous examples that we are seeing today, such as the attempt to force schools to teach what can only be described as intolerance. The glorification of militarism, national self interest as a foreign policy, and the blurring of the line between church and state are others. The question of whether fascism has entered the mainstream is over. It’s here! Millions are preparing to elect an insane autocrat, along with a duplicitous legislature in a devilish transaction between them. The time to stop it is now or it will be too late.

    3. The DNC is crooked. The Republican Party is corrupt.

      And we have already ruled out that even Donald Trump is not a fascist by scholars. He’s a business man that doesn’t make very good decisions and he is paying for it. His mouth gets him into trouble.

    4. A fascist government believes in government over people. Fascist governments believe in power over people. Fascist governments would do something like hire 87,000 IRS agents. A non-fascist government would do away with the IRS.

      This is cute and all, but the fascists shows up in the US as Ronald Reagan’s it’s in the form of a Democrat, not small government Republicans that believe power belongs in the hands of the people.

      I see a lot of people prefer propaganda over fact, in reality.

    5. The Democratic platform in itself shares the same ideals as many fascist governments. Democrats believe government should have power over the people while Republicans believe the power should lie in the hands of the people. The Biden government is growing the government exponentially just like a fascist government would do. They point to January 6 denying the election while at the same time ignoring 2016 when they tried to overthrow a duly elected president with the Russian collusion lie and spent the next 4 years empowering rioters and violence against police, and defunding the police.

      All moves of a fascist party. So while Democrats try to use 1 example where irregularities in a pandemic year where rules and regulations that safeguarded our elections were relaxed, and people protested the results that doesn’t equate to the 500+ riots Democrats encouraged, and funded in 2020. Thousands of police were injured, billions of dollars in damage ravaged cities with at least a dozen capitals attacked and dozens killed.

      No doubt if you want to point to examples of fascism look no further than the party that agrees with political violence against their opponents. Remember Democratic lawmakers tried to block the counting of Electoral College votes each of the past three times a Republican won the White House: Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2004 and 2000. It’s just the facts. Learn them.

  2. Coming from someone who more than likely voted for an actual fascist, supported riots that destroyed billions worth of property and killing dozens of people, treats people differently based on skin color, and writes dangerous rhetoric like this to divide people. The irony is just too much.

    1. Those were along the lines of my thoughts exactly. But in an echo chamber ‘orange man bad’ and Trump derangement syndrome (TDS) is rampant.

      1. Not to sound disrespectful to the opinion if a historian but I believe a political scientist would completely disagree. Not only disagree, but point out that the very interwar problems he pointed out are very similar to what we’re seeing today. Add in the fact that we have the internet feeding people conspiracies and propaganda, and forums where these people can find friends that share their idiology within minutes, we have a breeding ground for this stuff to live in. Some of this stuff, like the replacement theory, even makes it to the mainstream.

        Fascism is more than just the period between world wars. It’s an idiology. But hey people have fears of WW3 so maybe that will make him change his conclusion.

      1. Amen. Unfortunately that means that all but 2 legislative Republicans qualify. I agree, it appears to me that all except Cheney and Kinsinger, have willingly marched to the Alter of Herr Drumpfenfuhrer to sacrifice their spines, balls, ethics, honor, courage and morals . They know how dangerous his supporters are and fear them and their loss of power.

      2. Do you guys even know what fascists are, what fascism is?

        Ask any selfrespecting, neutral political scientist or historian what it is and what it stands for and you’ll realize the democrats are currently the ones closest to being fascists.

        What trump IS though is authoritarian and autocratic, it may look similar in some points, but wholly different when you actually know your stuff.

        1. MKONE: “Ask any selfrespecting, neutral political scientist or historian what it is and what it stands for and you’ll realize the democrats are currently the ones closest to being fascists.”

          How so?

    2. I so resent the Washington Post writer droping the F-word on the past President or myself as a Republican. So F-her too!

      The democrats have totally cast expersions of exactly what they are guilty of. They believe if they say it …..its true. What about all of the riots they condoned fueling the fire of lawlessness and mayhem ? Open borders? Another lawbreakers dream…along with Shumrmer and Maxine inciting violence …everything in this above article can also be applied to the democrats. So wake up and look in the mirror. Biden and his failing policies are on their way out!

      1. Yes! Well said! Thank you! I feel the same: appalled, harassed, unfairly judged, inaccurately grouped, and discriminated against for being a Republican! Not one of the characteristics of facism or communism can be equaled time a republican or conservative characteristic! This article is just spin and gaslighting!

  3. This seems to amount to “no one can ever be called fascist again because the exact conditions post 1918 are not met.” Covid is not flu. The “War on terror” and its tentacles are not WWI. But we have undemocratic, violent racists who lie, doublespeak, suppress opposition, and ignore established norms. Republicans are walking, talking, acting and quacking like Fascists. We should not give them the hall pass that only has meaning to a privileged few whose distinctions have intellectual but not practical application.

    1. Notice how you call them fascist while also saying fascist things towards them such as “we should not grant them a hall pass “ as if somehow you have a right to silence them because their views do not comply with yours? Strange how democrats tend to do this almost every other sentence…

      1. That’s a really stupid opinion. Everyone recognizes that certain views must be suppressed in order to maintain a democracy. Liberals and leftists recognize that fascist views are the problem, where as for fascists “silencing voices” actually just means killing brown and trans people. Look up the paradox of tolerance. You can’t have tolerance if you tolerate intolerance.

        1. What kind of suppression? Who determines who is to be suppressed? Is free speech to be curbed? If fascism allegedly, and by definition, only occurs on the right, what are we to make of the very fascist-looking USSR and other communist nations? What about the intolerant ideology of Wokeism that wants to compel belief and and impose an orthodoxy across the nation/world? Should that be suppressed too? It seems that many on the left today subscribe to the communist Herbert Marcuse’s Orwellian concept of “repressive tolerance”. Maybe the GOP is reacting to this new New Left resurgence. But it’s not only conservatives who are attacking the “successor ideology”—old school liberals are too.

      2. MAGA Republicans are fascist. They want to eliminate your right to vote if you’re anything other than white, Their attacks on voting is clearly a fascist priority. They want to stay in power without your consent because they want to use their power to further their own agenda not the people they supposedly represent.

        MAGA Republicans are FASCIST.

        If you’re a MAGA disciple of Tump don’t kid yourself, you are, or at least support a guy that wants to kill democracy in this country. You are within your rights to support fascism if you like, but consider that if fascism becomes the way of things, you won’t have that right any longer. Free speech, freedom of religion, free press, right to assembly – all gone.

        My question is this: what can be done to defeat fascism in a free country? At what point does debate end and the understanding that, just like a cancer, it needs to be removed.

  4. Fine, what DO we call these people then? Violent authoritarians? Because quibbling over this word is distracting from their actions and I feel a little detached from addressing this very grave threat to our democracy.

    “Conservatives believed they could contain fascists in the interwar period, and seem to think the same thing today.”

    It almost seems like here, they actually are being indirectly referred to as fascists. And I have a hard time understanding what a lack of “historical reference” refers to when to many, even if it’s not exactly the same, it’s easy to see it as a historical analogue.

  5. I understand Prof. Zatlin’s semantic argument, but I think Milbank and others are simply pointing out that the goals and methods of the American far right are very similar to those of the 1930s fascists, with RNC support. The threat to our republic is real, and conservative politicians are too cowardly to stand up for us. Today’s Guardian details efforts by QAnon to install far-right extremists in control of elections in swing states: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/11/qanon-donald-trump-big-lie-elections-swing-states. If they succeed, we are in real trouble.

    1. Conspiracy theory anyone? The Guardian is a leftist paper with a significant leftist bias… Extremism in any form is dangerous and if one objectively looks at current affairs in relation to historical parallels, it will be obvious where the danger is truly coming from…

      1. Unfortunately, you have fallen into the trap that the right wing media has helped create. We live in a strongly asymmetrical political environment. It is only one political side that is engaging in conspiracy theories, where truth has been thrown out the window, and endorses division and violence. There is no equivalent on the ‘left.’ Unlike right wing media, what they call the ‘Mainstream Media’ is still rooted in journalism, and not propaganda.

      2. I’m gonna be totally honest with everyone and it’s the sad reality of the situation that the right hand side of this seems to fail to realize is that we are okay with being leftists it’s a good thing and this mombo jumbo about being moderate is irrelevant. Just saying

      3. When exactly did supporting democracy and universal sufferage make someone a “leftist?” I don’t get it. You claim to be objective, but your words betray you. Also, I’m old, so the storm brewinng will not affect me. But I remember, as a child, reading about, and hearing about the crimes committed upon humanity by fascism. The question always was, “Why?” Why did a nation of intelligent and educated people descend into madness? Nobody gave me a reasonable explanation except, as stated at Nurenburg, that we must all be held accountable for our own actions. That has been a guiding principle for me. Dismissing the Guardian as a “leftist paper” too easily obscures what may be the truth. Be truly objective.

  6. And BLM was mostly peaceful… “Today’s New York Times has an interesting interview with Reihan Salam, the president of the Manhattan Institute. Mr. Salam explains “his organization’s concentration on critical race theory along with educational meritocracy and law and order matters. These aren’t particularly new arenas for conservatives, but what’s interesting is the intended audience. Salam and the Manhattan Institute see a multicultural right that can be built by looking in places that progressives either overlook, or, in Salam’s estimation, willfully ignore. Can you build a coalition between frustrated Latino, Asian American and Black parents who believe in school choice and the ideals of American meritocracy?” Worth reading. (Sources, manhattan-institute.org, nytimes.com)” J.Ellis

  7. Shorter Prof. Zatlin: “If it doesn’t come from the European region of the interwar world, it isn’t fascism, just sparkling authoritarianism.”

    The core argument here is pretty much without content: if it is impossible for fascism to exist (or arise) outside of the years 1918-1945, the answer to whether a contemporary phenomenon is fascist is trivially no, but also completely uninformative.

    In fact, Prof. Zatlin seems to concede this point, buried well within his first answer: “It is an attempt to resurrect those responses in the interwar period to democratic and liberal rule.” What are “those responses” if not the sentiments, beliefs, and actions characterizing fascism? Why did Prof. Zatlin fail to discretely, directly, and concisely address the “fascist leaning” portion of the first question?

    I would further add that Prof. Zatlin implicitly–and inappropriately–ignores the federal level, apart from President Trump himself, when he states, “That said, the last president did try—and it seems Republican parties locally as well as on the state level are trying—to put public officials into office who don’t have democracy as a value…” This ignores, at minimum, the three Republican members of the Supreme Court (as well as former Justices Scalia and Kennedy) preexisting the Trump Administration. The Roberts Court has shown, if not an embrace of violence, a substantial rejection of democratic principles as exemplified by 1) Shelby County and subsequent rulings greatly diminishing the Voting Rights Act and enabling voter suppression in Republican controlled states and 2) Rucho v. Common Cause enabling partisan gerrymandering by saying the courts cannot do anything about it and it must be addressed through legislation (which is prevented in e.g. Wisconsin by a gerrymandered legislature).

  8. The irony of a someone calling Trump supporters racist, authoritarian and violent is too much. How do you say this with a straight face? How do you say that right wing extremists do most of the political violence? Yes there was Jan 6? How long did that last and how many people died who were not the rioters? How many buildings burned during Jan 6?

    On the other hand we have this (courtesy MSN):


    What this prof is saying is delusional and easily refuted. His descriptions about political violence and authoritarianism perfectly matches BLM and Antifa and Biden administration’s DOJ who uses federal law enforcement to intimidate and brand US citizens who speak out at local school board meetings as domestic terrorists. If these things don’t smack of authoritarianism I don’t know what does.

    It is the left which engages in speech suppression, cancellation, stifling of free and open debate and exchange of ideas and yes racism? It is the left which would exercises its power using the power of the state and Big Tech to intimidate, deplatform and destroy people’s livelihoods when they hear speech they don’t like or when small business aren’t following draconian Covid lockdowns.

    Rather than debate ideas left wing activists prefer to demonize and intimidate and cancel people. How is this NOT authoritarian, anti-democratic practices? I don’t see the Right doing this no matter how extreme they are or how much they disagree with you.

    How is this professor able to speak about authoritarianism and political violence and not talk about journalists such as Andy Ngo covering an Antifa rally getting his skull bashed in by Antifa thugs – straight out of the fascist playbook.

    In the interests of intellectual integrity it is important to note that violation of civil liberties started in earnest with the Bush administration which ironically is now being celebrated by leftists. It is Bush who was the initial champion of violating civil rights and liberties of Americans with the Patriot Act. It is Bush who engaged in anti democratic practices, big government spying on its own people. But now the left has fully embraced these tactics for their own causes.

    1. Unfortunately, you are making a large false equivalency with BLM and the Capitol Riot. The rioting and looting was less than 5% of the protests, and the Democratic Party and most people that were part of the protests disavowed the violence. The violence was also not caused by BLM protesters, but from opportunists, many of whom were Trump supporters. There was also a legitimate reason for the protests. Studies have backed up the large discrepancy with how police have treated Blacks compared to Whites. They were protesting a system of inequality.

      Meanwhile the Capitol Riot was based on a lie and instead of calling for equality it was calling for an Aristocracy, and to throw out our constitution. The Republican Party have also fully sided with the rioters where the Republicans that stood up against members of their party and the Trump administration from participating in a coup have been kicked out of the party.

      Like fascist governments in History, the right wing media and the Republican Party have been using similar propaganda techniques such as projection of accusing their political opponents of the activities they engage in, and use whataboutisms of false equivalencies to minimize their own extreme transgressions. In this manner they have created an alternative reality bubble around their base.

      The Summer protests were peaceful, and the violence or looting was not at all representative of the protests.

      1. Very thorough and factual reply, debunking misinformation & conspiracies by providing supported facts to replace them. Well done Tom. Thank you.

    2. I think the key difference here is that right wing governments in America actually pass legislation that stifles debate and free speech – hence their banning of books, their diktats on what can be taught in schools and the removal of basic rights for women.
      There is no equivalent in left wing governments across America. Propagandists often speak of the left and their “cancel culture” etc, but there is no evidence that left wing governments actually do this.

  9. I was saddened and disappointed to read the generalized characterizations offered by my esteemed colleague in this article. If we are to have the slightest hope of reducing division in our society surely it is incumbent on those who occupy positions of stature and influence to aspire to some generosity of spirit in discourse and to refrain from imputing motives and dispositions to those with whom they disagree. Those who argue for a more limited role for government, individual liberty, and rule of law deserve better than to be smeared as violent racists. It is of small comfort to be offered the exemption from the customary smear of fascism.

    1. If all we were seeing in the republican party was a desire for limited government, individual liberty, and respect for law, I would agree with you wholeheartedly. But, that is objectively not what the world has seen over the past 5+ years.

      We’ve seen a president who has made lying about practically everything an art form. A president who has demonized those who disagree with his policies to the point of advocating violence against them in his speeches. A political party that has accepted (however grudgingly) the membership of literal racists. Like, people who have said in public that white Americans are superior to everyone else. We’ve seen mobs of people who would define themselves as conservatives invade Congress with weapons. The vast majority of Republicans with a public voice have, at best, seeded doubt about the results of a democratic election. Many have flat-out agreed with claims of election fraud, despite absolutely zero evidence of it. Election commissions in all 50 states, dozen and dozens of federal and state judges, and the Supreme Court have all confirmed this. I mean, the list of this stuff is long. If you can’t find objective confirmation of all of this, then you are literally not looking. This isn’t hyperbole. If Donald Trump and his followers could have found a way for him to stay in office, despite not being elected by the people of the United States, he would have done it. Literally. Even if it meant violently making it happen.

      The comments complaining about BLM and vaccine mandates to try to stop a global pandemic are nothing compared to the threat of the republican base. Black people have been treated like trash in America for centuries. Of course their anger boils over into riots occasionally.

      The pandemic will never end if people don’t get vaccinated. There are vaccine mandates for many diseases.

      Democrats aren’t violating first amendment rights when companies don’t allow people to say untrue or unkind or inflammatory things on their platforms. The first amendment protects people from the GOVERNMENT when they say those things. You can say (almost) anything and the government can’t retaliate against you or throw you in jail. Companies removing people from social media is NOT censorship in the “free speech” sense. You know this and choose to ignore it. I would bet my life that you can’t say whatever stupid thing that comes to your head in your office, right? But, if you want to go outside on a street corner and say those things, assuming you aren’t bothering someone else, no one can or will do anything about it. THAT is what the first amendment protects. Quit pretending you don’t understand that.

      It is completely fine to disagree on government policies concerning economics, education, taxes, immigration, etc.. Ah, for the good ole days. But that’s not what people are concerned about. Thoughtful people are concerned that the Republican party is going down a path where they can no longer reason through these things. They no longer can tell objective truth from literal lies. Like, things that aren’t true. Or, even more disconcerting, they don’t feel it’s necessary to discern between the two. Once you can no longer tell what is true, someone can convince you of almost anything. The worst elements of the Republican party now have the loudest voice. There is objective proof of this everywhere. To be sure, there are extreme elements in every political corner. But they are confined to the fringes. That is increasingly not true of Republicans. Please, find a way to convince your conservative friends, who are only concerned with limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law, to take back the microphone. For the sake of America.

      PS I’m not a Democrat

        1. Nope. And until humans can find a way to evolve beyond the narratives of their tribes, we’ll be stuck forever. It’s ok for you to believe that smaller government is better for our society and still recognize that Trump years are saturated with lies, conspiracy theories, and self interest. There is nothing wrong with believing that conservative fiscal policy is the better for our economy and also understanding that appeasing white supremacists for votes is appalling and dangerous and stupid. Fiscal policy and the merits of smaller government are debatable ideals. Trump objectively toying with a coup of our government is flat-out un-American and probably criminal. Being friendly with racists for their votes is un-human, immoral, defeatist, stupid, etc.. It’s ok for you to look beyond your given narrative and find things that are true. Evolve. I know you can do it.

      1. “If Donald Trump and his followers could have found a way for him to stay in office, despite not being elected by the people of the United States, he would have done it. Literally. Even if it meant violently making it happen.” That’s exactly right. The notion that the GOP is the party of “law and order” is the most revolting myth of many, many revolting myths embraced by the American far-right.

        The January 6th seditionists and their supporters in the GOP wanted to *stop the peaceful transfer of power.* Period! The idea that there were “legitimate concerns” about the validity of the 2020 election is the biggest Big Lie of all time, and only fringe-right mouth-breathers, conspiracy-addled nitwits, or anti-democratic goons still believe it.

      2. Great comment. Reading from Canada and seeing how crazy the global right is I can say I agree with you 100%. As for the BLM ‘riots’ there was a father and son Republican combo committing violence as well as Trump-led jackboots starting the violence.
        I am not a Democrat but watching what is happening in the USA and what it is doing in Canada with Republican influence destroying political sanity here, I must admit the Republican/Conservatives are the problem.

    2. Doug, as the Vice President and Chief of Staff to the President, is it the university’s position that January 6th was “legitimate political discourse”?

    3. July 21, 2022, NYT writer, Bret Stephens acknowledged that ” The Russian Collision investigation of the past 4 years is a hoax.” Testimony from the Sussman Trial appears to confirm this
      Jan. 6 without a doubt needs to be investigated. Yet the national televising neglects Due Process
      I feel disappointed and concerned that Freedom of the Press and Due Process are not applied. These are
      paramount principles of America’s
      Constitution and our freedom.

      1. That the investigation was a hoax is simply Not true. The Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee largely agreed with the Mueller report.

  10. such bull:

    “And the Republican Party is in danger of becoming the party of violence, antidemocracy, and racism”

    Those politically intolerant and violent today are the American left, by any balanced analysis.

    I second “DEEPLYDISAPPOINTED IN BU”, as a more conservative bent

    “This article is why I will never donate another penny to BU.”

    and it leaves me without a familiar place I trust to send my daughter sadly…

  11. Are Trump Republicans fascist? Some of them certainly are, whether they identify as fascist or not.

    But many, many more are just plain old pro-autocracy. The notion that today’s GOP is *not* in large part an extremist, anti-democratic party is laughable. After all, a good number of elected Republican officials at the local, state, and national level have praised the violent, seditious MAGA mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6 as “patriots” and “heroes” — or, idiotically, have even blamed so-called leftists for the violence. (Riiiiight. Confederate-flag-waving, MAGA-gear-wearing, white-supemacist-hand-signal-flashing “leftists.”)

    If you support the actions of the January 6th seditionists — whose *explicit, stated aim* was to stop the peaceful transfer of power — you might not be straight-up fascist. But there’s absolutely no way that you’re pro-American, pro-democracy, or pro-U.S. Constitution. Period.

  12. I think quibbling over labels distracts from the issue. A lot of parallels can be drawn between the Republican Party and the development of fascist regimes such as the inter-war period of Germany. Fascism also tends to be a period of escalation, and we have been going through an escalation phase by the Republicans, particularly under Trump, but it goes back a lot further to at least the 80s or even earlier when Goldwater began to appeal to racist sentiments when he ran for President while voting against Civil Rights legislation. Scholars still seem to be divided over whether to call the Republican Party fascist, but more and more have been getting on board since the insurrection and the party’s endorsement of the “Big Lie”.

    The Republican Party has been using the messaging of “The Mythical Past” under Reagan, and Trump to harken back to a time when the rural White Working Class had a lot more dominance in society, and Blacks were lesser citizens. This “Mythical Past” is one of the key components of fascism.

    The words of Henry Wallace, VP under FDR have more relevance than ever and describes the modern GOP well.

    “A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of
    intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or
    nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The
    supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.

    American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.”

  13. Hey, I’m not a “Trump Republican”, but given the choices at the elections I voted for him twice. Nice to know that Mr. Zatlin, and some commenters, know that I am “violent, racist, and dangerous”.

    Nice to see BU leadership and fellow students are open-minded, tolerant, and not biased at all.

    BTW, this is my real name. I don’t hide behind an alias.


    1. Beto, thank you for your comment and using your real name. To be clear, this is what Zatlin actually said: “Almost all January 6 insurrectionists—I wouldn’t call [them] fascists, because fascists are people who were involved in the interwar period. But there’s no question that they’re violent antidemocrats who are also violently racist. And the Republican Party is in danger of becoming the party of violence, antidemocracy, and racism.” He is referring specifically to the insurrectionists, not to all Republicans.

  14. I highly recommend Prof.Jason Stanley’s book “ How Fascism Works”.He is a prof. of History at Yale University.

  15. Zatlin’s definition of fascism is arguably too self limiting based on other operational definitions of fascism such as those of Jason Stanley, etc. If fascism is simply something that happened in the past then it has no practical relevance today. The better way to frame the comparison perhaps is to say that the regimes of fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Falangist Spain under Franco (and only Italy was technically “fascist” if you really want to be self-limiting) were authoritarian or totalitarian regimes that shared closely similar traits, ideas, methods of mass indoctrination and repression and were born of the conditions he describes in post war Europe. The popular reactions to the problems of globalisation, plutocracy, and the crash of 2008 have resulted in a similar if less severe challenge to the ruling order than that after WWI, and the authoritarian movements that grow in the reaction to these problems of course bear similarities to the interwar movements in those countries. Trump is as best a sort of proto neo-fascist. He may be a megalomaniac and he may lead a cult of personality. Combine this with white nationalism of a sort and you get something that vaguely echoes fascism, but the crucial point for Trump is that while he may have aspired to be a reality show version of Mussolini, neither he nor his movement was able to subvert the US government into anything resembling a fascist regime. If there is one clear parallel to 20th century fascism afoot in the Western world right now it would be Putin’s Russia. There you have the personality, the cult of personality and you have both subverting a shaky and tentative democratic state born of post Cold War socio-political collapse into something now closely mirroring an interwar fascist regime. And most importantly, you have mixed in with the regime and the national mythologies of redemptive violence also crucial myths of territorial irredentism and revanchism. The result is a major European war, and a war ongoing that still has the potential to morph into a world war.

  16. Whatever you want to call it, I believe if allowed the far left Republicans would lead the US in a “fascist” direction. There are too many similarities of regimes from the 20’s and 30’s that progressed through untruths such as we see today. Would love to see the Republican party return to practical conservative values and limited government.

  17. It was Russia/Putin that wanted to undermine the US liberal democratic order. This has
    already been mostly achieved. Divide and conquer. Our country has never been more
    divided. Read the following article posted on The Washington Post on February 24, 2022 titled: Russia’s Objective in the U.S. Has Already Largely Been Achieved. This is very scary.

  18. Putin has the lock down on the media and spins an alternative reality for the Russian people. Then he poisons or jails any dissedents. It seems the enemy of a fascist is the truth. Trumps enemy is definately the truth.
    It’s really that simple.

  19. I am not a Republican nor a Trump supporter. It is absolutely clear that the left has become the dominate fascists. To any American who sincerely believe otherwise, respectfully, lacks critical thinking skills, common sense, or are the simple-minded regurgitating the hate and lies spewed from the left.

    1. Dr. Maggio, I would very much like you to explain this statement. I am a very educated person with four degrees and speaking four languages. I have lived and studied extensively abroad. I am not sure why you think the Left is “fascist” as fascism in and of itself is a right wing movement. The scary left wing movement would be communism…I am very confused by your statement…Further, I would like some examples of what it is you are referring to by the left “spewing hate and lies”…As I am on the left and do no such thing, nor does anyone I know or surround myself with. My values are those of peace, freedom and equality for all people.

      1. It’s clearly a parroted talking point from Fox News and other right-wing media outlets, like Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder. They have been trying to subtly rewrite history, using incorrect terms for “left” and “right” like “big gov. vs. small gov.”. They posit that fascism is actually a leftist ideology, but no serious academic sees it that way.

  20. I think you need a dictionary, Dr. Maggio. If this is what you think of world and US events you need one to look at current events.

  21. The Democratic and Republican parties within the USA are both fascist. Fascism is the merger of State and Corporate entities. The political parties are literally Corporations that serve other Corporations in getting the legislative ends they desire processed through the State apparatus.


  22. Sadly, many of the comments here spout the standard leftist/progressive view of anyone who doesn’t drink their ideological “Kool-Aid”: if you’re a conservative, republican (supporter or not of Trump), or simply disagree with us, you’re a fascist. No debate, no rationale, no discussion. Just the usual name-calling and labeling. The concept of free speech for the left has morphed into “free speech, only if it meets with our ideological approval”.

    1. Jonathan,

      I do not think all republicans are fascists, I do think Trump supporters are supporting fascist ideas and do not have the education to realize it. If we look at historical figures who have been fascist style dictators the similarities to Trump are astounding and they simply are not recognizing this. My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. She always told me to be careful of any leader who coms to power and claims he is the only one who can fix the problems, who brings discord and divisiveness as he blames “the other” (whoever that may be) as the source of the problems, who mesmerizes the public and claims only he can be trusted and starts purging the government of anyone who dares disagree with him. She said be careful when they start attacking free press. Trump marked all of those boxes. As a mental health professional, I also saw glaring indictions he was serenely personality disordered in the same fashion as other historical dictators, narcissistic, paranoid, delusional even.

      I think where people’s frustration lies right now is that he has so much control over the GOP. Look for instance, at Liz Cheney. She voted along with Trump 90% of the time, yet she is about to lose her seat because she dared to call out Trump…So are the GOP voters no longer voting based on their policy beliefs or based on loyalty to one man and all others need to be voted out? THAT is scary. Nobody should be that loyal to one person, not a liberal or conservative person. The GOP is running so scared that even those who obviously disagree with Trump often refuse to speak out against him. This is what is alarming. I told my friend in Greece recently that I feel my country is being half run by Golden Dawn (a Greek party of right wing fascists who had some success in Greek politics but are now mostly all in prison there) and she was horrified but also agreed it looks like that to her too.

      We are scared. We are scared of how people rationalize every wrong thing Trump does and how people are covering to him even if they don’t agree.

      I tend to be liberal with most things, but not all. One thing is however, I could NEVER EVER vote for a GOP candidate at this point. The thought literally makes me sick, because I believe Trump runs that party, whether the people are willing or not at this point, and THAT is dangerous.

  23. I’m somewhat confused on the basis for defining fascism as a symptom of the exact global socioeconomic conditions between WWI and WWII. This rationalization positions this political ideology of only being able to exist in the past, no?

    I also see conservatives here defending their support for the new GOP as something in retaliation to a “dangerous left”…I believe the author had mentioned the current Republican Party are the one’s “flirting” with racists and radical nationalist groups, who can’t be described in any better words as “domestic terrorists”…

    I say this to the defenders of this position – no one is saying all Republicans are neo-nazi fascists…we’re saying all neo-nazi fascists are ALL Republicans.

    The ones who accuse the other side of being “simple minded” and lack the ability of critical thinking should look in the mirror. They might come for you next.

    *typed from mobile, excuse typos

  24. I’m quite sure most Trump supporters do not see themselves as fascists, mostly because I’m not sure they even understand what that means, but they are certainly bringing us towards fascism. So whether they label themselves that way or THINK that’s what they are doing, they are doing it, just the same.

  25. If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck – use pedantic deflection and pretend naivete to avoid dealing with the duck in front of you and maybe it’ll go away.
    That’s this article

  26. What happened to jail as response to domestic terrorism like threats against politicians, police, candidates & family members?

    How much security did Trump need for his family? Where is it all now where threats are issued against everyone but Trump & his family?

    Dump Trump to return to normal!

  27. Yes the Republicans and the Republican Party is predominately Fascist. 80 years old and always thought I was a Republican. Two years ago I became an Independent ( no party affiliation) .
    The Republican Party is the greatest threat to our possible loss of our Democracy. Even Dick Cheney sees its failing and he was telling Geo. Bush how to run the country. The Republican Party needs to be dissolved.

  28. Your totally wrong. Trump wants one thing and that is to be a dictator like putin. So yes he is a fascist and so are many of his top supporters.

  29. I can not believe what I am reading the vilification and branding of people as racist and uneducated just because their political beliefs differ from yours. What elitist snobs and hypocrites …. Unbelievable and sad..

    I am thankful to be old and have a limited time on earth. I have witnessed so much racism on the left from people who spout just what you are saying….

    Trust me none of this is limited to the right all of you are to blind to see it are to busy pontificating your b.s.

    1. Racism you see on the left is limited to a few people on Twitter. Republicans are calling for subtle systematic suppression of certain people’s rights, democrats are trying to snuff out systematic oppression.
      Your need to “both sides” everything based on fringe experiences is quite sad.

  30. Yeahhhh,do you hear yourself. Everything you said is exactly what trump and is followers are doing, and with violence. Because the election didn’t turn out the way Trump wanted. Did you not see what happened Jan. 6th. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck its a duck.

    1. Exactly! A group that goes too far to either extreme still leads to Authoritarianism. Whether far far Left, or far far Right. (See Stalinist/Maoist Communism, or Nazi Facism ((Actual Fascism))

      This very poorly informed and misguided group call everything they disagree with Fascism.
      It’s alienated a lot of Moderates and Independents that would otherwise have been allies on a number of other issues.
      And instead of reflect on their behavior, they attack the people in the middle as “privileged” or some other such nonsense.

      It’s truly bizarre to watch

  31. Trump is a fascist! He even has Nazi leanings in a substantive way; he wanted the military to shoot BLM protesters. When told no, he asked, well can’t we at least shoot them in the legs. Being restrained at the time, to not be enabled to shoot BLM protesters, does not remove him from being labeled a proper Nazi. His recent rhetoric, “the FBI is a vicious monster” for their exercise of a legal, bona fide search warrant will lead his extremist followers to violence and yet you take exception to even admitting he’s a fascist; now that’s alarming.

  32. Good Call! However, one might argue that the Trumpites are authoritarians following a leader of a protofascist movement. The Trupites are basically those called by Karl Marx ‘lumpenproletariat’ Obviously the six January 2021 Capitol assault/ occupation was much better planned and organized than Hitler’s 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. The violent uneducated, primitively religious, trumpite private militias long to be an American SA protecting Trump events and suppressing political opponents. Nevertheless, the witch’s brew of the Trump cult of personality is an American phunomenum, not a carbon copy of early 20th century European fascism.

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